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A Holiness Practicum

moretolife.jpgRegardless of how holiness gets defined, no Bible believer can dismiss the whole notion as unimportant or passe.  The scriptures plainly declare that without it, no man can see the Lord.  The Bible also admonishes us, “Be ye holy for I am holy.”  Maintaining a holiness emphasis, although it is a tough job, falls to the “watchman on the wall”, or, pastors and elders.  It is time for a strong reminder to the church that watchman sees danger on the horizon.  Like a slow, degenerative disease, worldliness creeps in incrementally, changing the face of the church from being Christ-like to becoming a reflection of the present age.  Holiness is not a “holdover”; holiness is integral to our relationship with God.  How then should holiness be defined?  Holiness has measurable values displayed in a tangible,visible lifestyle, not just in rhetoric.  To deny this is to deny much of the New Testament.

Every serious disciple, therefore, soon pursues the path of holiness after salvation. Since this pathway directly impacts the issues of life, we who follow Jesus find ourselves dealing with do’s and don’ts in the way we live. For example, think of a surgeon who understands the importance of hygiene, but does nothing to implement hygienic practices in his surgical procedures; or, an educator who has mastered educational theory, yet her classroom is in disarray. Likewise, true believers must take what they know about serving God and put it into practice. Here is a practicum to follow that will get you started, or provide a check-up along the way.

Place the impulses of the flesh under strict control. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14. Coveting, wrong affection and uncontrolled desires will destroy you.

Take great care what you allow your eyes to see. “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Psalm 101:3. Guard your eye-gate from viewing evil through any medium.

Stop cursing, profanity, gossip and abusive language. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 . Vulgar language, dirty jokes and idle gossip offends the Spirit of God.

Do not defile or misuse your body. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19. Alcohol, tobacco, drugs or anything that harms the body displeases God. We should glorify God in our bodies.

Avoid evil communication. “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Colossians 3:8. Sever ties with people who will negatively affect your walk with God.

Long hair on women pleases God. “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.” 1 Corinthians 11:15. This scriptural standard depicts the image God chooses for his handmaidens.

It is a shame for a man to have long hair. “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” 1 Corinthians 11:14. Men’s hair should not be left uncut as a woman’s.

Do not indulge in sinful and perverse practices. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5. The Bible clearly condemns a perverted, unnatural  lifestyle, as well as all related practices. We do not excuse or accommodate them. We forsake them as works of the flesh.

Practice modesty. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” 1 Timothy 2:9. The Bible emphasizes a modest appearance for men and women. It sends a strong message that the outer person takes a back seat to the inner person. Jewelry, make-up and revealing or suggestive clothing have no place in the life of the disciple.

Flee fornication. “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18. The special relationship between husband and wife retains its honor only within the covenant of marriage. True disciples hold themselves above sexual sin.

Maintain a difference between men and women. “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” Deuteronomy 22:5. The world became confused years ago, but Bible-believers continue to honor the God-created gender differences in human beings. When women wear skirts and men wear trousers, that difference is evident to all.

Be an example to all believers. “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12. We must model in our bodies the beliefs we maintain in our hearts. When people around us look in our direction, they need to see holiness and godliness.

This list covers only a few items. Much more could be said about each one. It is enough, however, to remember that living a holy life continues to be extremely important to discipleship.

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