Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Protecting Holiness


Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matthew 7:6)
I have been meditating on this passage of scripture a lot. The more I think about it, the more I begin to see a certain picture form in my heart. It is a serious image, but it is also a very powerful one, and one whose message has set me free.

It all begins with the phrase "that which is holy". When I first read these words, they stopped me in my tracks. I just kept asking myself, "What IS 'that which is holy'?" Through study, I found out "dogs" in the scripture is a commonly used term referring to things that are impure, so evidently I am to protect these holy things. But what ARE they?

Upon doing a word search, I quickly discovered that there are many verses in the Bible speaking about holiness. As I read through my search results, I began to see an answer to my question.

THE WORD

Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. (Romans 7:12)
This first verse really pours a foundation for all the others. Foremost of all other verses, God's Word and His commandments are holy. We must regard His instructions about faith and behavior as sacred. Something that is sacred is set apart from others; it is pure. We must not treat God's instructions to us lightly, but consecrate them in our lives. (1 Thess. 5:23)

I am reminded of Jesus words. "If a man love me, he will keep my words..." (John 14:23) We cannot say we love Christ and refuse to obey His words. That which we love, we treat highly. It is special to us. We must not "cast" the holy Word of God aside in favor of impure things.


THE BODY
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:17)
The Bible is very specific about holiness in our flesh. The most obvious application of this is sexual impurity, both inside and outside of marriage. But have you considered that it also includes our words? Words either build or destroy. (Jude 1:20) With our words we justify. With our words we condemn. (Matthew 12:37) Our words must be holy. This means more than avoiding curse words. It also means speaking well of others and being an encouragement. It means walking by faith and not speaking doubt.

EVERY action in our flesh is to be held as sacred. The adage "What would Jesus do?" applies well. Ask yourself if you would do that in front of our Lord. With that thought in mind, I think we'd act differently. The scripture itself says He knows what we need before we even ask. (Matthew 6:8) It also says there is nothing hidden. (1 Cor. 4:5)

I must pause and think here on the gravity, the importance, of maintaining holiness in our flesh. It is so easy to allow the "cares of this world" to enter in and choke the Word of God in our lives. (Mark 4:19) And it usually doesn't happen in some big, catastrophic way, but it is the little things that we allow to creep in. We must daily strive to protect what God has given us.

I have good news though! When we do mess up, God is gracious to forgive and will not even remember our sins. (Hebrews 8:12) This is a marvelous promise!


OUR CHILDREN

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. (1 Corinthians 7:14)
This instruction is so near to my heart. Did you know your children are holy? The Bible says they are! God desires a generation of youth who will stand for what is right, no matter what the television or their friends may say. He desires children willing to set the standard of behavior and not follow along behind it.

What does it mean to "cast" our children to the "dogs"? I think it is that parents become too passive. We seek God for ourselves and somehow fail to teach our children these things we have learned. A holy child, one that is set apart for Christ, know how to search the scriptures, understands the power of prayer, and fashions their behavior after Christ. They see an example in their parents and emulate it. These children will not have "discipline problems" because they are able to make godly decisions. We must not, through our own lapse, cast our children aside to impure ideals.


THE CHURCH

That he [Christ] might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)
We must realize that the church itself is holy. I'm all for the belief that God accepts you just as you are, no matter what you've been through. (John 3:16) This is the truth! However, we must strive for better than that.

We cannot come into the body of Christ happy to remain the same. Whether it is something as small as being faithful to one congregation or something more serious like overcoming personal addictions, to become a holy church, its members must treat themselves as holy and as a result the church as whole as well. This means we respect God enough to not dress like we are at home doing housework. We refuse to gossip. We support the pastor, by giving of our time or finances. We do as the Bible tells us -bless, edify, and pray.


AT THE HEART

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16)
At the heart of these thoughts, we are told to be holy as Christ is holy, in all manners, in every way. And yet there is more to it than that, we are also to not "Give...that which is holy unto the dogs."

Can you see it now? Don't trust the consecrated things of God - your flesh, your children, your church - to areas of uncleanness. Don't compromise in even the smallest way. God has promised this will backfire every time. Instead, "having done all,...stand". (Ephesians 6:14)

Refuse to settle! Walk in holiness, and more than that, protect holiness in every form God has given it to you.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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