Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence. For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:13-21 HCSB)
Holiness isn’t a very popular teaching. I think many churches are big on God’s grace (which they twist to mean forgiveness and blindness), and His love.
However, they teach His love as something shallow. Many preachers equate God’s forgiveness with His love and end there. They do not talk about how He disciplines those whom He loves, and how His love is what carries us through the various trials we will face. They steer clear of common biblical truths like tribulations and the expectation of holiness in those professing Christ as Savior. And we see the outcome of this willful avoidance: worldly, weak, and ignorant Christians who rather than growing to a place of holiness and powerful transformation, remain as infants who regularly attend service on Sunday, maybe hang out for a little after, and then go about doing whatever they want.
God is not pleased with mere church-goers. He’s looking for powerful witnesses. (Side note: power comes from the Holy Spirit, but sin puts a lid on the flow of His power through the believer’s life.)
If we are trained up to be holy, to fear God, and to obey Him, this is where power derives. It is not derived from repetitious and shallow sermons on God’s grace and love. It is the hard work of practically removing sin from your life, renewing your mind by delving into the Scriptures daily, rejecting your old lusts, disciplining yourself in prayer, and allowing yourself to be discipled by godly believers.
I promise you: power will not come from attending services twice a week. It will not come by just doing charitable events. It must come from what I previously described.
1.) Genuine repentance
Real repentance isn’t a simple “sinner’s prayer.” It is choosing to side with God, and confess that you’re wrong, and He’s right. It is choosing to walk away from the sins in your life, and chasing after Christ and His righteousness.
2.) Mind renewal
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1, 2 HCSB)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)
When you choose to open up the bible and let God teach you, you will discover His word is alive. It will reveal any wicked motives or thoughts you may have so you can renounce them and replace them with the wholesome teaching of Christ. It will expose any false beliefs you have that are of the world and satan, and renew your mind to believe the truth and nothing but the truth.
Also, getting into His Word will show you what God’s will for every area of your life is. You will receive wisdom and not be a wave tossed to-and-fro by everyone’s unbiblical opinions. You will know what your God wants from you.
3.) Rejecting your former lusts
Now that you’ve repented and accepted Christ as both Savior and Lord, and thus have received His Holy Spirit, and now that you’ve been reading the bible, whenever satan tempts you with things of the past, you reject those things by the power of the Holy Spirit and by knowing the truth. The bible teaches:
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh … those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires … Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16, 24, 25 HCSB)
4.) Being disciplined in prayer
Jesus was a straight prayer warrior! The bible says He would always go to a mountain and spend hours in prayer. Sometimes all night! Now if God in the flesh prayed that much, how can we think we’re good if we pray five minutes a day? Do you think that’s “fervent” prayer (James 5)?
If you’re a new Christian, from one day to one year walking with Christ, I’m not saying you must pray five hours a day. I don’t even pray that long. However, you should be building your prayer muscles, meaning, over time, you should see that you pray longer and more often, and desire to pray more. Think of prayer like this:
In the military, there’s a General, he plans the strategy of attack, and then there’s a colonel. The colonel gets the orders and leads a group of soldiers. God is our commander, and we are His colonels. We go to Him for orders, and then we lead others to victory. But what happens if we do not go to our Commander for help? How will we be victorious without His aid? A weak prayer life equals a weak Christian. A strong prayer life equals a strong Christian.
5.) Get discipled
Even colonels aren’t called to war on their own. The body of Christ, the church, is called to battle together as one. We do life together. You pray and read on your own, but you also pray and study the word together. You serve and preach together (Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs). You eat together. You share everything. You hold one another accountable. This is real church. It’s not sitting in a service for an hour and then leaving. It’s family.
When you become a Christian, you become a part of the family of God. We all need each other to grow. We all have something to bring to the table, and bring we must. The bible teaches that our gifts are not for us, or even for the world, but for the church. Our gifts are meant to build up and encourage other Christians. They are not to entertain others, to receive accolades, or riches. They are for our family in Christ, and if we refuse to share and use our gifts for them and thus for God, we will be judged for that.
So these are the essentials in becoming holy, in becoming a powerful weapon of righteousness, useful for Christ.
Do you wanna be mighty for God, in the front lines of battle, shaking the gates of hell alongside your brothers and sisters, or do you want to be in the side-lines, or worse, a lone ranger who eventually gets shot down and buried?
As always, the choice is yours.