This is the final post for the Holiness Matters series. We have finally arrived. We have covered a wide range of areas holiness touches. Not one part of our lives is unaffected. Many Christians continue to struggle with fleshly desires, temptation, and sin. They concentrate on all the negative commands they receive in Scripture.
These Christians try to eradicate sin with their own willpower to no avail. But it’s not supposed to be that way. We can focus on the positive, thinking on godly things and concentrating on pleasing God in everything we think, say, and do.
Christian preachers and teachers may have taught you that the struggle will continue until you get to heaven, but you can live in victory now. In this final post on Holiness Matters we focus on a summary of the points of holiness I want you to remember, think about, and apply to your life.
Enemies of Holiness
We will be constantly battling three enemies of holiness in our lives. This doesn’t mean we walk in defeat. You can have victory over every one of these enemies. But you must ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and give you His power over them.
First, you must battle your fleshly desires. This is “The Flesh” that Paul talks about so much. The flesh is the desires we used to have before we met Jesus. He has made us new creatures in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). We don’t have to bow to these desires any longer.
The flesh brings temptation to your doorstep. Although you are not subject to your fleshly desires anymore, they will try to drag you back in to your old lifestyle. You must resist the flesh and its desires and temptations.
Jesus calls us to new desires in Him. Instead of seeking our own selfish desires we seek to fulfill the law of liberty and the law of love He has taught us. Instead of loving ourselves we love others first. We put others ahead of ourselves.
Instead of seeking our own welfare we seek the welfare of others. And most of all we seek to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection, chasing after him with reckless abandon (Philippians 3:8-11).
We want to please God and bring glory to His name instead of our own. We seek to live out godly principles and a biblical worldview. Our values have completely changed, and our perspective is now focused on eternity.
The second enemy of holiness is the world. By the world I’m not speaking of people in the world. I’m talking about the evil world system that seeks to destroy Christians and opposes God at every turn. The world is the environment of sin we were born into and must contend with.
John often talks about the world in a negative way because he’s talking about the world system around us. We must not bow to the persecution around us. We must turn away from temptation and find a way out of it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The world tries to get us to change our godly values and eternal perspective. Our new perspective runs contrary to the way the world operates. We can be salt and light in a world full of darkness. As salt we preserve righteousness in the world and sees in our conversations with godly talk.
Our light penetrates the darkness as Jesus did. We bring revelation of sin into the world. The Holy Spirit uses us to convict those in the world of their sin and bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus. We show them a godly lifestyle.
The third enemy of our souls is Satan and his demons. Through spiritual warfare we take the battle to the enemy. Neither Satan or his demons can stand against the name of Jesus. But we must know Jesus and be walking with Him.
The power to wage war against the devil and his enemies does not come by our own strength. The power comes from Jesus and His Spirit. So we must rely on our relationship with Him, on continually abiding in Him.
There are many strategies to defeat these enemies of holiness and to live in victory. We must employ the one we need to win the day. Let us always rely on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Key Mindsets of Holiness
I am thoroughly convinced as I have studied holiness for over four years that our greatest asset is our mindset. The way we think about ourselves and about the enemies of holiness is the way we win the battle.
God guides our minds with the helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:17). And yet we often do not realize everything that happens the moment Jesus saves us. If we had a clear understanding of our identity in Christ we could face the enemy head on.
Knowing who you are in Christ keeps the devil from making you think you are weak or unsaved. He cannot play his mind games on you. You are a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), meaning your old life and old desires have passed away.
You are no longer a slave to sin (Romans 6:15-19) and you’re dead to sin (Ephesians 2:1-4). When temptation comes knocking you are not home. When a hunter pokes a dead animal he shot it doesn’t move. You don’t respond to temptation anymore.
When you know who you are in Christ it is much easier to not allow your flesh, temptation, and sin try to get to you. Satan can’t convince you that you are a sinner, can’t defend against temptation, and cannot win the war against Satan.
Why do we want to live for God here and now? After all, if we are saved we can just wait for the end when we go to Heaven. But that’s not how it works. We are here on earth to glorify Jesus. We must lead others to Him.
More than that, holiness prepares us for Heaven. We follow God’s commandment to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:14-16). We are his representatives and show people God’s expectations and what He is like. We imitate His holiness.
God’s states His ultimate goal throughout Scripture, “I will be their God and they will be my people” (Exod 6:7; Jer 24:7; 31:33; Ezek 11:20; 37:27; 2 Cor 6:16; Heb 8:10; Rev 21:7). He deserves our worship and we love Him for what He has done for us, and for who He is.
We trust in Jesus as the only way to the Father, the Truth we’ve been searching for all our lives, and the eternal Life He has promised us (John 14:6). God has loved us as His creation from the beginning of our lives. When we find Him we cannot resist His love and grace toward us.
Actions for Holy Living
I cannot leave you with all this information without practical steps to apply to your life. The point of understanding holiness is to carry out measures that will ensure growth in godliness. I hope that at least one of these action points will help you grow in holiness.
These are ways we can apply holiness to our lives and please God. These are taken from my book, Holiness Matters: a Call to Obey the Holy Spirit.
- Obey the Holy Spirit. Growing in holiness requires obedience to the Holy Spirit in everything. Our natural inclination must be to listen to and obey the Holy Spirit. We will make little progress until this becomes our second nature.
- Look for a Way Out of Temptation (1 Cor 10:13). Paul teaches that God always provides a way out of temptation. When temptation grabs your attention, look for the open door out of the burning house and run through it with all of your strength.
- Fill the Gaps. Even after becoming new creatures in Christ, we have weaknesses and old areas Satan will continue to bombard. When we know our weaknesses and have a plan against temptation, we can stand against it. Make two columns on a piece of paper. Write your weaknesses on the left side. On the right side, write at least two action steps to avoid temptation in those areas.
- Push away and Get Close. James tells us to take two opposing actions at once. First, we submit to God. God must be number one in our lives at all times. We must keep our first love (Revelation 2:4). Then we must resist the devil. Tell him no, and command him to leave. Do not entertain his advances, and he will be powerless against you.
- Live dead. Paul teaches we are dead to sin (Rom 6:1-4; Eph 2:1-4). We do not respond to sin. Do not give it an opportunity. Focus on God and living for Him. Honor Him in every area of your life, and do everything that pleases Him.
- Use Your Sword. Memorize Scriptures that address any weaknesses in your life. When temptation rings the doorbell, shut it down like Jesus did in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Know the Scriptures before you are in the battle with temptation.
- Go to Work. Godly distractions help people to focus on God. Bury yourself in Bible reading, study, and prayer; these activities keep our focus on God and our relationship with Him. God has a mission for every believer. As we discover it, acting on it with all of our heart brings God’s Kingdom into focus.
- Practice the Spiritual Disciplines. Spiritual disciplines, from Bible intake to journaling, help us monitor our heart and spirit before the Lord. We evaluate our lifestyle, intentions, motives, thoughts, and actions.
My Prayer for You
Precious Jesus, As we seek You for Your holy best in our life, I pray You will call us to Yourself. Equip us for every good work. May we be conformed to Your character as Your Spirit renews our minds daily. Your victorious walk has overcome sin and shame.
Holy Spirit, fill us with Your presence every moment of every day. Empower us to serve Jesus with excellence, training us in the gifts You give in Your infinite wisdom. Cultivate Your fruit in our character and increase our faith to see unparalleled and remarkable miracles as You dwell in us by Your Power.
Jesus, I pray that one day You will embrace us at the end of this great journey saying, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” May we experience the fullness of Your unmatched love in eternity with You. Fill our lives with blessing as we Serve You and grow into holy character that glorifies You. Amen.