sandtorock
Jill's self talk
"Of all the things I want in life, the top priority is to gain a better knowledge of my Maker."
Holiness ... 1

The beauty of holiness

Being born with a beautiful face is considered a blessing by most cultures, and many people feel  it's so important that they need to try to enhance their facial appearance in various ways such as cosmetics, botox injections, and laser skin treatment. The use of cosmetics is common and widespread. It’s almost compulsory for women to apply makeup each day to conform to cultural standards. Because women rely on makeup to put on their best face, they fall under the influence of the considerably powerful cosmetics industry. But to really stand out, some women resort to much more expensive procedures such as face-lifts and surgery.
For Christians, it’s not the absence of makeup that separates us from the world and makes us different from it, but something beautiful on the inside, something that is not vanity, but is what we know to be God’s own imparted nature of holiness. Holiness can set you apart in the beauty stakes in many ways, such as having moral virtue, having a pure and unblemished character, having a joyful, peaceful and purposeful demeanor, and being unselfish, loving, compassionate, and steadfast.
If you underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to make men and women holy, you will underestimate the power and intent of God. Becoming more familiar with holiness is a first-hand experience that is revealed to believers as we do the activities that align with our Christian faith. This includes learning to manage our attitudes to what is sinful, undesirable, and unbeneficial in life; and embracing that which is acceptable, worthwhile, and God-pleasing. It's the path we must follow to become a soul of great beauty. "Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness." (Romans 6:19 NIV) 
We can describe the challenge in a number of different ways: if our focus and constant endeavor is to "stay close" to Christ; if we hunger and thirst for righteousness (doing what is right and good); if we re-calibrate our lives towards the values that make us harmonious with God's Kingdom; and if we commit to doing the activities that align with our Christian faith and love; then without a shadow of doubt we will become more familiar with the beauty of holiness through a first-hand experience.
As Christians we take our cues from the Bible for values that guide our lives, but you have to wonder what makes Christian values so much different from those of the rest of the world. On the surface it may not appear that there is a significant difference, yet Jesus said those who believe in Him are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. In other words, we have an enviable demeanor about us, because we appear godly and content with being godly. 
Jill's self talk
"There is no hypocrisy in my convictions and my commitment to my faith. There is no hypocrisy in my understanding and obedience to my responsibilities in Christ."

We are meant to be different

From the beginning of the world, when time first began, God purposely created something of epic proportions, and man was at the center of it. He drew out an intricate plan to design a world full of wonder, life and vibrancy. God shaped and fashioned a place so filled with beauty, that even to this day there are still thousands of locations throughout the earth that simply take our breath away. Natural beauty is out there in abundance: sparkling blue waters of the ocean and coastlines, the aquamarine reefs, teeming with life; soaring peaks of mountains, crowned with pristine white snow caps; lush green jungles, exploding with new growth, blossoms and fragrance; while white, black, yellow and tan beaches encircle the islands.
Then God added to His marvellous works with His best creation of all … a man! He created Adam in His own image, by blowing the breath of His life into him, and a son was made. No other created thing is as special to God like man is. The angels in Heaven looked in astonishment, asking “What is man for?” God’s purpose was to create a person who was just like Him, not just another creation, but something He could treat like family. And because God is holy, He desired His sons to share His creations and live in holiness.
When man became corrupted and sinful, certain descendants of Adam were selected to become God’s chosen race. He called this people to be different from other nations; by stipulating a unique set of rules governing their diet, appearance, and customs. In this way, the Jews were set apart from other people. In New Testament times, we are liberated from these requirements and external rules. There is a new arrangement that sets us apart, based on inner values. With diet, for instance, Jesus explained that it’s not important what goes into the mouth; it’s what proceeds out of the mouth and from the heart that either defiles a person or defines a person. With clothing, it was not the customary attire of the Jews that would please God, but we are encourage to clothe ourselves spiritually in Christ-like virtues. The customs of the Jews were replaced with heartfelt attitudes that would fulfil all of God’s expectations. Christians have been equipped with the power and love of the Holy Spirit to live this new way.
What this immediately suggests to believers is that there should be a dramatic difference between believers and unbelievers, but is this our experience? Are we so different in our thoughts, our conversation, and our conduct that we are characterized as lights that stand out like a beacon in the darkness? Do we exhibit a profound freedom from the influences of sin? Are we indoctrinated with the need for outer appearance and materialism, or do we value the beauty from within.
Ideally, our lives are to be so markedly sin-free that our very presence and conduct is a constant contrast to those around us, showing that there is something very deficient about and missing from their lives. As new-born children of God, we have something they need and ought to have. If we lack this impact, we need to evaluate our faith because Jesus also said that salt can lose its savor and become useless in its appointed task.
For those who value the treasures of true faith, the Bible provides the guidelines that are the means to the end of perfecting holiness by following the Christ who makes us holy. God’s grace allows us to be forgiven, but Christians who continue to live in sin are meant to be expelled; while ministers of religion, who are not shining examples, who do not excel in holiness, should likewise resign immediately.
The Bible mentions that there are some people who cultivate their own form of godliness and clean living, but that they do so while lacking the power that leads to a truly godly life. We who belong to God and saved by Christ, are called to live a life of power through the Holy Spirit that is conspicuously separate from the rest of the world. Everything about God is Holy: Himself, His word, His name, His ways, His dwelling places, and of course His people. Our holiness is derived from an indwelling of God’s Spirit that influences us to manifest godly thinking and behavior.
We have a set of guidelines about Christian values, which when properly understood and applied, has the unique ability to guide us away and distinguish us from the rest of the world. By encapsulating these values into how we live, we radiate the heavenly beauty of God’s perfect will. We provide the light that preserves societal standards by exposing sin, as well as eclipsing the “good living” masquerades of alternative philosophies that tries to exclude Christ.
Jill's self talk
"I aspire to have the fullest, deepest experience of God. I call on His power to cleanse me from all that is unholy and ungodly. I embrace all the essential Christian values and virtues that go hand in hand with holiness."
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