IMPORTANCE OF HOLY LIVING
P. Samuel Manoharam
Present-day Christianity is experiencing an unprecedented spiritual famine. Never has there been a greater need for holiness in the church. The church’s failure to adorn herself with the beautiful garment of holiness has left her vulnerable to the vicious attacks of Satan. Without holiness, the church cannot be victorious in its spiritual battle against this enemy.
The strength of the church is measured by the depth of its consecration. The greatest tragedy of Christianity today is the scarcity of preaching and teaching on holiness. Burning holiness can come only from burning spiritual hearts, which are rare now-a-days. Someone has said, “Dead men give out dead sermons and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual maturity of the preacher.” Personal integrity and godly character are the two foundations that the preachers of Christ’s Gospel ought to stand on if they are to bear fruit that will last for eternity (Jn.15:7-17).
It is rightly said, “Before God can work through you, He must work in you.”We should first be holy and righteous in God’s sight before He can use us (2Tim.1:8-9;2Pet.3:11). It is not ‘how much we have’ that matters, but ‘how much of us God has,’ that really, really matters for God to use us for His purposes.
Holiness Leads Us To God
Achievements by godly men and women that have honoured God have always been the outcome of their holy life-style. Holiness is seeing Christ in His completeness, doing all we can to pattern our life after His example. He led a life on earth which was a perfect example of holy and disciplined life. God wants us to be conformed to Christ and not to this world (Rom.8:29).Holiness brings us closer to God, and in God’s holy presence we become flaming torches, spreading the holy fire of God’s presence.
Holiness Is Lived
Holiness is not just talked about, it is to be lived out. Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, George Whitefield, George Mueller, John Hyde and many other men and women of God lived holy lives that reflected Christ’s glory. Of John Hyde it was said that the one great characteristic of this godly man was holiness that influenced his contemporaries. He said, “Self must not only be dead, but buried out of sight, for the stench of the unburied self-life will frighten souls away from Jesus.”While he had accomplished much for God through prayer, at the root of prayer was his sanctified life that radiated Christ’s righteousness (Jas.5:16b). “Holiness is the soil that nourishes the roots of prayer.” Someone has rightly said, “Without holiness, genuine prayer cannot be uttered,” and “Hindrance to prayer arises from the ignorance of God’s holy word.”These great saints of God were known for their holiness. Are they our role models for holy living?
Holiness Can Be Attained
It is not easy to attain holiness. We should begin by emptying ourselves of all worldliness and sinful thoughts. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”Those striving for holiness learned to live in God’s holy presence. Holiness does not mean giving up everything in life; rather,it is living near the heart of God. Holiness creates an inner longing for more of God, as the Psalmist said, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (42:2). God wants us to conform to His will and to have inward holiness.
Holiness Is Happiness
Modern society thrives on short-lived ‘happiness’ that comes by consuming alcohol and taking drugs, etc. To satisfy their lust for pleasure, millions around the world consume billions of gallons of hard liquor! Just imagine the amount of liquor that flows daily to satisfy a moment’s pleasure! They call this happiness a ‘kick.’ What a tragedy and what a misconception of happiness. It is nothing but self-deception.
A godly man said, “Holy life is a happy life and holiness begets happiness.”So, true happiness flows only from holy living. Holiness is godliness. Therefore, not all are comfortable when they come into contact with those who live holy lives, because holiness brings conviction.
Holiness And The Holy Spirit
God’s Holy Spirit holds a vital place in teaching holy living. The Holy Spirit comes and lives within us to help us attain holiness. We should therefore make every effort to allow the Holy Spirit, the ‘Comforter,’ to help us in every need and circumstance (Col.3:12-14;2Pet.1:3-9). There needs to be a growing hunger in the church to understand more fully the Holy Spirit and His sanctifying work in the believers. We need to spend more time in prayer, moving closer and closer to the Lord Jesus, looking unto Him always.
Holy living ought to be a daily practice for the Christian whom God has placed in this sin-ravaged world. We must attain holiness for our prayers to be effective. God answers only such prayers.
God says in 1 Peter 1:15, 16 and Leviticus 11:44, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” This is God’s commandment to every believer in Christ. Since God Himself is holy, He wants His children to be holy. He wants us to abstain from all kinds of evil. This involves regularly confessing and forsaking sin. We cannot face God and delight in Him when there is sin in our life (Psa.51:9-10). If we claim to follow Christ, we must live a life that proves our claim.
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord,
Abide in Him always, and feed on His word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak;
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.