“…it is written, be holy for I am holy…”
(1 Peter 1:16)
We were not created to briefly pursue our own desires and then simply – return to dust! Creation has far more meaning than the temporary activities which many feel to be all that life has to offer. Our personal destinies cannot be achieved by merely seeking to become wealthy, popular, or physically fit. Life’s true purpose is experienced by actually knowing and personally pleasing our Creator.
The Lord’s Apostle declared, “Ultimately it does not matter whether we are here or gone; our purpose stays fixed on pleasing Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:9)
Our resistance to needed character development takes many forms. They include self-pity, self-absorption, and self-praise. These attitudes are all distasteful to God. However, our most damaging defeats usually come from compromise. Such immature thinking normally involves obeying our own – self-serving nature. In stark contrast, our death to self produces new freedom and self-respect!
Holiness does not come easily; it must be experienced moment by moment! We are not asked to admire it, teach about it, sing about it, and write about it – so much as to live it! Our inner spiritual yearning to know God more deeply can only be satisfied by consistently pursuing His best for our lives.
The Holy Spirit alone produces a passion for developing godly character. Ultimately, it is our changing attitudes and actions that produce the visible authentication of our faith. Who we really are is continually being reshaped by the spiritual transformation of our – thinking! For that positive process to become our daily experience, it is helpful to meditate on Paul’s timeless instruction,
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Loving those around us does not require accepting their unedifying attitudes, improper behavior, or misguided beliefs. Through the Holy Spirit’s power, the Lord’s disciples have always been enabled to love their fellow sinners while at the same time rejecting their worldly values! Remember that dangerous flirtation with sin often – leads to committing the sin itself! The Lord is our perfect example of living in the world yet remaining fully resistant to its many unsavory desires and practices! James was therefore guided to reassuringly instruct us. He said, “…Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
As you continue to build a character inspired by Biblical teachings, your growing new maturity will produce many opportunities to speak “…the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15) Do not forget that being in step with God’s Spirit will always mean being out of step with the multitudes who are still spiritually blind. The Bible says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” (1 John 2:15)
The Scriptures instruct us about personal purity saying, “… come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 6:17)
In pursuit of a godly character, you must intentionally submit your will to His. This submission can begin every morning as you pray, so plan ahead now to avoid spiritual mediocrity in your future.
Remember that living above your secular culture’s values – means living normally as a member of God’s family. Paul described this reality and its relationship to victorious living – in terms of making a decision. Now quietly meditate on the two verses below. If you decide to live according to God’s guidance found in these verses then you can be assured of naturally becoming – Christ’s growing and highly usable disciple!
“… I urge you, brothers… to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
By Billie Hanks Jr.