A member of our team once entered into a store in London sometimes ago. As he did, his nose was greeted with a putrefying stench within the store. He wondered, “How could a store filled with nice goods on display emit such a foul smell?” He considered walking out of the store but soon enough, came across the source of the unpleasant air that filled the space. A homeless man, wrapped in layers of unwashed clothes on a body that might not have had water all over it for ages passed by to pay at the till. Some relief as the homeless man went out of the store!
Mmmmmm. We do hope charities and the government succeed in their efforts to get this situation dealt with in towns and cities in the UK. When we think of our lives before coming to the cross in repentance, we were just like that man – we stank to high heavens spiritually, polluted by sexual immorality, greed, lies, pride and all sorts of wrong thoughts, words and actions. We were unwashed and unkempt, wrapped in filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6. Praise to God, Jesus found us. Unlike the case of the homeless man that the team member could not help or go near to on that occasion, Jesus drew near to us and touched us. He removed our dirty robes, washed us clean in His precious blood and put on us His own righteousness. Praise God! Revelation 1:5, Zechariah 3:1-5, Revelation 19:8
This is the new birth experience, otherwise called being born again by Jesus Christ Himself. John 3:3. There are two parts to the experience – God’s part and ours. God convicts us of our sinfulness and offers pardon and cleansing through Jesus Christ. We have to respond to Him by agreeing with God that we have been sinful (which should be easy enough for all of us have sinned), feel sorry for our sins and ask for His forgiveness. We then ask Jesus to become our Lord and Saviour. Romans 3:23, 2 Corinthians 7:10, John 1:10-13
If we sincerely do our part, then we gain eternal life; our names are written in God’s special register called The Book of Life. We become new creatures, old things are gone, everything becomes new. God deposits His grace and righteousness in us. We become His children, delivered from the kingdom of darkness, governed by Satan, and are now citizens of God’s kingdom of light. In this new state, we begin to walk with Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Now, we cannot go back to wear our old stinking rags and expect to walk with Jesus. We cannot become citizens of His Kingdom of light and go back to walk in darkness or practise the unfruitful works of darkness. Ephesians 5:11
How then do we walk in practical holiness with Jesus?
- We need to feed on His word. Whether we have just gained new life or have known the Lord for long, His word remains our strength for the journey through life. Matthew 4:4, 1 Peter 2:1-2. God talks to us and makes us holy and fit for His use through His word. Jonh 17:16-17
- We need to talk with Him. We cannot be walking with someone without engaging in meaningful conversation with them. Jesus should become our best friend. Prayer is simply talking with God. Through prayer and fasting, we renew our strength and God makes us overcomers. Isaiah 40:28-31, 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- We need to break the link to our sinful past or “burn the bridge.” Jesus calls us to separate ourselves from worldly pleasures and all forms of ungodliness. We cannot continue to do the same wrong things we did before coming to Christ. We cannot continue to watch wrong films, listen to wrong music, or remain in sinful relationships. We cannot continue to visit certain places of sinful pleasure, both physically and online. We have to come out of all that and get rid of all connections to them. This may mean destroying some CDs, deleting some apps on our mobile devices, and even deleting wrong contacts on our phones. If you had a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past, ideally, you should delete their contacts on your phone, get rid of their photos and other things that connected them to you. Doing these makes it more difficult for us to be pulled back into an ungodly past.1 John 2:15-17, James 4:4
- We need to replace wrong things with right ones such as renewing our mind in the Word of God, the Bible, listening to Christian music, fellowshipping with true believers, participating in church activities and sharing the testimony of our new life with others. Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 10:25
- We need to make Jesus our example. 1 John 2:6, Hebrews 12:1-3, 1 Peter 2:21
- We need to watch or be on our guard. We cannot afford to be careless. We must avoid all appearance of evil; any tendency that may lead to sin. For instance, a dating couple or those in Christian courtship should avoid being alone together in private space. They must avoid unnecessary physical contact. Also, if you had a sin partner in the past whom you called a boyfriend or girlfriend, you cannot continue to visit them but should end all contact. 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23, Matthew 26:41, Revelation 16:15
- We need to resist wrong desires, thoughts and suggestions, no matter the source. God gives grace when we are willing and when we ask Him to help us overcome these things. Hebrews 12:3-4, Matthew 5:27-30. Sometimes, it is necessary to close our eyes or turn away when we see sin nearby or actually walk away from a scene. If you have to run, so do, beloved. Joseph ran! Samson succumbed. Their ends were different. 1 Corinthians 6:18
- We need to get back on our feet again if we slip, or fall. Don’t rationalize or justify it. Run back to the Saviour in repentance and confession. He loves you even when you fall. 1 John 2:1-2. Learn from your mistake(s) so you can overcome any sin that may easily entangle you. Hebrew 12:1. A mistake or two, a fall or failing should not determine your future on earth and eternity with God. David fell into adultery and plotted the death of the innocent but repented thoroughly and God forgave him. Peter denied ever knowing Jesus at a difficult moment but Jesus restored him and re-commissioned him. Dry bones can rise again! Ezekiel 37:1-14. Rise up and shine! Stand up, stand up for Jesus. Amen.
- We need to trust in God’s Everlasting Arms to keep us going in His holiness, saving you from your greatest enemy, sin. Deuteronomy 33:27. We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. Luke 1:74-75, Matthew 1:21
- We need to obtain God’s grace to endure persecution, sufferings and trials in this world. They are inevitable as we walk with our Lord, who Himself, was hated b the world and crucified. John 15:18-25, John 16:33, 2 Timothy 3:12,Revelation 2:10-11
May the Lord help us to walk in holiness with Him while still on earth so that we can see Him in eternity. Hebrews 12:14
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