Don’t be stuck at 1% nor 99% of holiness. Why? Because it’s not one bit holy really! Be 100 percent holy for the Lord. Do this because:
•Being holy gives glory to God.
•Being holy is consistent with Christian living.
•So that your good deeds serve an example to all people including evildoers.
•So that you prevail against evil in the war in against your soul.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:11-12)
If there is a man, serving the Lord, helping the poor, and studying the word, and this man is only stealing a small about of money from work every week, he is in danger of hellfire. If there is a lady, serving in the church, leading people to Christ, and sponsoring missionaries, and this lady continues to cheat with only one adulterous partner, she is in danger of hellfire. You should not have any hope that Jesus might break His Word.
“Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.” (Lamentations 2:19)
The righteous considers the cause of the poor: but the wicked regards not such knowledge. (Proverbs 29:7)
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
Stand not O lover of God in the darkness for God is light and in him is no darkness at all. Jesus is the light of world. He is Holy One of God who takes away of your sins. Do not fear the world that tempts you to sin but rather be courageous in Jesus Christ. He gives grace to the humble. Be humble enough to ask for his help when you are tempted in any form.
The world is beset by darkness, spiritual darkness to be precise. No wonder those who don’t have the light of Christ are covered by the darkness. We may live in a fallen world but are not called to share in its fallen nature. Awake O lover of God to his call to faith in Jesus the Son of God who gives you salvation.
Be not caught up in the darkness of sin and deceit. For the Evil One controls the destinies of people dwelling in sin. These people refused the light of God because of their love of darkness. Pray for such people instead of thinking of yourself as too great. Even you once were subject to the darkness due to your sin until Jesus Christ forgave you when you turned back to him. So be humble for your salvation is by God and not by your good works nor good looks.
Cling to Jesus Christ and love God. Live not for your selfish pursuits of sinful pleasure and riches. Rather live for the glory of God. Reject the falsehood of the world, the works of wickedness and those who hate Christ our Lord. Be in the light so that you give true glory to God.
I pray that the light of our Lord Jesus Christ shine on you and your loved ones always in this life and in the next life which also includes the new heaven and the new earth and most importantly new Jerusalem. All praise and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God. Amen.
For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.( Psalm 18:28)
And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.( Isaiah 60:2-3)
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19-28)
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(John 8:12)
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. ( 1 John 1:5-7)
And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. (Acts 26:15-18)
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (Timothy 6:11-16)
That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15)
For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.( 1 Thessalonians 5:5)
The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (Isaiah 60:19)
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:23-27)
When you are fasting unto the Lord Jesus you might be doing it to spend with him. You might want to get closer to him. Sometimes fasting is just so that you want to be undisturbed by the needs of the flesh so that you can concentrate on the Living God our Father. There’s always a good reason to fast. The Holy Spirit may lead you to fast and pray or sometimes require you to only pray without fasting. Listen to him and discern.
Never fast out of legalism or trying to earn salvation or forgiveness of sins for it won’t actually save you. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can save you from your sins. Fasting therefore must be done without guile and hypocrisy.
In Isaiah chapter 58, the Lord God condemns unworthy fasting but also sets the precedent on what fasting is considered pure. Lets read the following:
58 “Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.
Jesus himself did not do away with fasting. In fact he set the standard for all of us who believe in him in Matthew 6:16-18
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
The righteous considers the cause of the poor: but the wicked regards not such knowledge. (Proverbs 29:7)
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health. (Psalm 41:1-3)
Let’s read Psalm 1 which speaks of the two ways of life that are available to mankind. Here we go:
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,nor stands in the way of sinners,nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
The above Psalm has great meaning. It speaks of the way of righteousness and the way of wickedness. It speaks how blessed are those who do not take wicked counsel. There are many people who give wicked advice like against attending the church service and being obedient to God and so on they ramble on. These are not be entertained by the righteous and must be rejected.
This also speaks about how blessed are those who don’t stand in the way of sinners nor in the seat of scoffers. Standing or sitting here is that a person is being still with them so that he can listen to their nonsense. There are people who are so sinful that they won’t keep their sinfulness to themselves but try to pass their wicked opinions to others who don’t sin or even more so those who don’t sin like them.
A person determined to please God must have delight in the law of the Lord and must keep it in highest regard. Now this law for Christians is not necessarily the law of Moses and definitely is not legalism. Because Jesus has already fulfilled the law of Moses. We have something greater, which is to love God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength and also to love one’s neighbor as ourselves. In other words, we must follow the Gospel. It wouldn’t be possible to follow all of the laws of Moses because there is much animal sacrifice in it. We must remember that the perfect sacrifice of Jesus shedding his blood on the sacrifice is the greatest sacrifice of the New covenant and this does away with the need for animal sacrifice.
Now, the righteous are like a tree planted by streams of water. You may be living in a desert or in the prairies but that is only your physical surrounding where you are based. Spiritually it’s much different. For Jesus gives to all who ask of him the living waters so that you are spiritually satisfied for eternal life.
John 4:10,14 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”..but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 7:37-39 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Isaiah 12:3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
No wonder the righteous prosper being filled with the living waters that Jesus gives. I can speak a lot on true prosperity but let me tell you this. True prosperity is to be in a relation with Jesus in this life and in the next. True prosperity is to be in heaven after you pass away from this earth.
A measure of how successful you were in life is what happens of it when you are at the end of your life on earth. A wicked person may have achieved a lot in life. They may have made a lot of money and received a lot of fame in the process. But what happens of it when they die. This all turns to no use because receiving their punishment of this in hell due to their sins they don’t get out. I mean they never get any relief. Their achievements simply testify against them in the fires of hell. Like the chaff that is driven away by the wind so is their prosperity.
The Lord won’t let the wicked and the righteous have the same fate after death. This is where the difference becomes very clear. God keeps track of those who are righteous in Jesus. God is personally interested in each and every believer. He also is very aware of the sins of those who don’t believe in Jesus. He is a loving Father but remains a just God. Happy are those who choose to be righteous in Jesus Christ for the love of God. Amen.
Let’s read about the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector which was mentioned by Jesus in Luke 18:9-14
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Jesus was aware of the thoughts of the people around him. He knew that though he preached the Gospel of repentance, there were those who took it the wrong way. These people didn’t deny the need to be righteous but in fact were very proud of their own righteousness. So proud were they, that they scorned everyone else who didn’t measure up to their standard of righteousness. No wonder Jesus had a fitting parable to such self righteous attitudes. This is also a calling by Jesus on our attitudes towards prayer.
Here are a few lessons we can learn from this parable:
- The righteousness that comes from Christ is the only true righteousness you need.
- Do not display your own righteousness before the Lord expecting a goodie for that.
- Avoid boasting of your achievements in prayer to God.
- Stop comparing yourself to others in prayer even if they are proven to be more worse than you.
- No justification comes from self exaltation.
- If you humble yourself before God then you will be exalted by him.
- You need to believe in God to make you righteous by his Son Jesus Christ.
- A simple prayer of repentance is of more value than fancy words made to look like prayer.
- Express your emotions about your weakness to the Lord in good faith so that you overcome them.
- God is fully aware of the real attitude of your heart no matter how much you hide it from people.
Colossians 3:1-11 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.
We are encouraged by the Bible to set our minds on things above and not on things on earth. It does not mean you totally neglect your earthly duties. It means that you realize that you have to follow wisdom that come above, which is from God in heaven.
There is good reason to do so, as when Jesus shed his blood by dying on the cross, he took upon himself all of your sin. So when you believe in Jesus you believe that he came to take away your sins, your old life of sinfulness is taken away and you become a new creation. You may not be dead in the physical sense but in spirit you are dead to sin and there is a promise for you in Christ that you will be resurrected. You need to therefore live with that in mind.
You must there keep away from all sinfulness because sin was your old nature, so you can’t keep walking in it any more. You need to walk in the new nature, which the holiness which Christ has imparted to you. Therefore, you need to set your mind on Jesus above and not on things of this earth.
Here are a few scriptures you can reflect on:
Romans 6:13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
Galatians 5:19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery
1 Corinthians 6:11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
2 Corinthians 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.