“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Yoke of guilt and the burden of routine; dos and don’ts, cannot promote holiness in a life.
|The motivation for holiness is in the understanding of its concept and necessity, as it affects your progress, success, and relationship with God.|
Do not force yourself to be holy without understanding. Holiness will be killing and cumbersome if you do not know why you have to be. You will not enjoy its fruit, nor rejoice in the experience, if you do not understand the need for it. Holiness is not about rules and regulations; do not touch, do not do that or this. Rather, holiness is a glorious experience. It should be with utmost pleasure and joy that you want to keep yourself clean and habitable for divine residence. That is to say, I understand that my life must be maintained and cultivated for God’s presence to be with me always.
When I decide to live the sanctified life, and consciously keep away from filthiness and sin, I am doing it out of the pleasure and understanding of God’s presence. The reason I decide to stay out of sin and run away from compromise is not because of consequences but because I treasure and love the presence of God and I do not want to soil or offend it. . The motivation for holiness is in the understanding of its concept and necessity, as it affects your progress, success and relationship with God.
You will become bitter, sad, frustrated, and traumatic when you labour to be holy without this understanding. You will cringe in fear towards God rather than being motivated by his love and grace. You will be taunted and tormented by guilt rather than walking in the liberty that the grace of God affords. You will keep toiling under the yoke of sin rather that triumphing in victory through the grace of God which is stimulated by love.
I once toiled and labored without understanding too. My spiritual walk and experience was gloomy and miserable. I carried sad faces up and down, and was constantly disappointed in myself and my ability to please God with my works of holiness. There was no fruit of Joy in my life. I fear God rather than love him. I dread the consequences of sin rather than love the fruit of obedience. My motivation for holiness was to impress God with my works rather than enjoy and maintain His works of grace. I was always under constant depression of my past mistakes, and always under the oppression of the fear not to offend God.
Such experience as mine is not healthy. It lacks the right motivation for holiness, and an understanding of its concept.
This usually ends in misery and bitterness.
For you to be rightly motivated towards holiness and not see it as a burden, you must understand the idea and need for holiness. That is, you need to first and foremost understand the bases for holiness, and why you have to be holy.
|For you to be rightly motivated toward holiness, and not see it as a burden, you must understand the idea and need for Holiness|
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
With the scriptural verses above, we are going to bring out three reasons God stated as bases and motivation for our holiness. God did not say “Be ye not unequally yoked together” or “be ye separate” because He wants to put us under mere performance pressure, or desires to watch us struggle and battle spiritually as gladiators; knowing our limitations. Not at all! God is neither a spectator nor a wicked Lord. His demands are not without the grease of grace neither are His instructions without lotion of love.
Like I stated in my introduction that, being holy is not for God’s sake but it is essential as a condition for total and daily victory in every area of your life. For you and me to be able to effectively enforce the victory Christ has afforded us by his death; triumphing and exercising your authority and dominion over the kingdom of the devil and his demons, holiness – maintain and sustaining divine presence – is indispensable.
Now, let us together consider THREE grounds God has established as reasons for you to be holy.
I have mentioned this before, and I will say it again. God has not called you to labour or work to become righteous, neither has He demanded that you become a light. No, that is not the essence of holiness. He has made you righteous and turned you into light when he died and resurrected unto glory.
What God is saying is this:
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
In essence, God is saying you were once darkness – totally blind, unrighteous, and ignorant. Walk as children of light – suitable to your present knowledge and status in Christ. Become conscious of who you are, and walk as such.
|The walk of holiness becomes natural when you know and understand the worth of your identity|
. Why many believers do not walk in holiness is because they lack the knowledge of their worth as a believer.
It is so amazing how the children of this world are wiser in this regard than the children of light. When they have a change of status in regards to their lives; maybe as a celebrity, or pop star, or even a change in professional status, the ease with which they switch behaviour and posture is so fast and spontaneous. They immediately change their friends, associations, and become choosy about how and where they live. They immediately begin to walk in the realm of their new status; they know and understand the worth of their new identity, and everything around them adjusts to this reality.
Why are believers not waking up to the reality of their worth and identity so fast? It is Satan’s strategy to keep them in a position of weakness and feebleness. So that they will not work and walk as they ought to, and possess what is theirs in Christ.
God is crying out to you invariably: “Be ye not unequally yoked together” and “be ye separate” because of who you are, and what you are worth.
God says it is unwholesome and ridiculous for darkness and light to mingle together, and for righteousness and unrighteousness to fellowship together.
Hey, you are the temple of the Lord Most High. God dwells in you!
“for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said…”
2 Corinthians 6:16
God is jealously mindful of you and I began to ponder and evaluate my attitude towards my own house as I write this chapter. Some of the questions I asked myself were:
- For what purpose do I keep my house clean?
- Why do I pay security guards and fit burglary steels to secure my properties?
- For what purpose are the decorations and furniture?
- Whose sake am I doing all of these things?
- How comfortable will I be if I abandoned care for it?
- Are there any social or environmental consequences if I stop caring for my house?
|God is jealously mindful of you because of what you are to him. You are God’s dwelling place; The House of God.|
I paused and reconsider over and over again these questions in order to provide sincere answers for them. And I came to two major conclusions.
- As the owner of the house, and considering the purpose for which I built the house; as a dwelling place for comfort, and also considering my investment, I am under continuous obligation to maintain it. Otherwise, the house will decay and I will suffer the loss of it all.
- On the other hand, as the occupant of the house, and considering my social status and responsibilities, hygiene, health, peace, and general comfort, I am under continuous obligation to keep it clean. Otherwise, the house will decay and I will suffer the loss of it all.
So also dear friend, God, being the owner of your life, has a purpose for it. He has set you apart to be His habitation of comfort; a dwelling place of His glory. He made you to be the temple that He can dwell, work, and walk, in this crooked and perverse generation. He has chosen you to become his place of power and residence of glory. He has invested so much in you; hence He desires and demands your holiness. For this reason, God will ensure He preserves, protects and cares for you.
But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.
In your daily experience, in as much as you can retain and sustain the presence of God in your life through conscious and holy living, your victory will keep the whole earth silent, because the LORD is his holy temple. And your peace will be calmer than that of a quiet river.
Moreover, as the Lord’s temple, you are responsible to keep it and tender it. No important guest will visit or stay in a house that is rough and dirty, so also God will not dwell in an unclean temple.
|God is Holy and his eye cannot behold uncleanliness|
Likewise, the amount of money you will spend in hospitals due to infections and unhealthy environment will far outweigh the cost of maintenance. Infact, one may end up losing his life to his own undoing.
God is Holy and his eye cannot behold uncleanliness. And any man that defile His temple, either by commission or omission, after the knowledge of the truth does so to his own undoing. For it is written:
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
Beloved, a comforting reality is this:
“… God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people”.
2 Corinthians 6:16
This promise does not suggest occasional habitation but a perceptual indwelling. Not a momentary event, but continual presence of the Almighty. God did not promise to visit, but He has promised to stay in you, walk in you, and work through you.
God’s estimate is that He is not just a visitor in your life, but a resident Lord.
I marvel at times when I see posters and publicity of church programmes tagged: “Divine Visitation”, “Divine Encounter”, “Divine Appointment” and so on. As nice as they appear and great as it sounds, it shows how completely we have lost God’s presence in our lives and in the church today.
Where is God that He is visiting?
Where has he gone that He needs to be booked for an appointment?
Whose side is He that you need an encounter with Him?
|… the reality of God’s presence necessitates a preparation and a cleanup to retain and sustain it|
This apparently depicts how far we have lost touch with divine realities and God’s presence. We talk so much about Divine Visitation in church today because we cannot retain the presence of God.
New international Version translated as saying:
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people…”
2 Corinthians 6:16
This scripture clearly expressed God’s intention to dwell and live in us and walk with us continually and not occasionally.
Therefore, the reality of God’s presence necessitates a preparation and a cleanup to retain and sustain it. Because God is not just visiting, He is coming to stay. Not a Divine Visitation, but a Perpetual Dwelling.
My motivation for holiness is this: God lives in me; the Almighty God, Kings of Kings, and Everlasting King dwells with me.
Just pause and think. How would you prepare and behave? If you were told that the President of your country has decided to operate and rule the entire country from your home. Will business continue as usual?
The truth is that, a greater personality than your president has promised you his continuous presence. Glory to God!
Do I intend to contradict myself by what am about to let us consider?
You just said Holiness is not a burden or routine, so then, why talking about God applying force again?
My intention is to provide a balance perspective of how our walk of Holiness can be enjoyable and comfortable, free of detours and hassles.
The Bible tells us as believers, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first… (Rev. 2:4, 5). Our problem is that we have grown to love the earthly ways of fulfilling our desires for God and become complacent with other sources of satisfying our spiritual appetite —apart from Him. We are clinging to earthly sources when we should be clinging to God.
|Rather than wait for God to change us, we need to be the ones to take assertive steps towards repentance|
We are the ones who need to take action to humble ourselves and repent. The Bible also tells us to “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord and remove the foreskins of your heart” (Jer 4:4a). Even though that sounds painful, it is because of what God offers freely that repentance is something we should delight to do.
When I listen to people praying I often hear a desperate cry to God for help. They plead with God to turn them around and make them holy. That would mean God would have to intervene and take their earthly attachments away from them. The problem is that it is not pleasant when God has to get involved in the process of helping us to repent and walk in holiness by taking what we love away from us. It hurts.
Longing for God to make you holy is asking for something that would be very painful. I don’t think He wants to have to do that—on an individual, or on a societal level. He will if He must, but He doesn’t want to. Like any loving parent, God doesn’t take pleasure in having to discipline His children. That is why God tells us to repent. The problem is that I don’t think we have much time left.
Rather than wait for God to change us, we need to be the ones to take assertive steps towards repentance.
End times are getting closer to us every day. At some point, God will not be able to wait for us any longer and He will have to “cut” our earthly attachments from us: “every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” (John15:2b). When God does have to cut away our earthly attachments, the outcome is always good, but going through it can be difficult.
When you are going through difficult times try to keep in mind that God has the best plan at heart concerning you. Even though the “pruning” of God may be difficult, it is only because He loves you and knows you would love it most to be closer to Him.
The Bible says, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:6). But it also tells us the reason why; it says, “He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10b). God sees the bigger picture. He knows that if we could see it also, we would want to be rid of the earthly sources to which we cling.
God wants what is best for you. When He looks at you He sees you in terms of what you can become. The Psalmist wrote, “Know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself” (Psalm 4:3b). Don’t just consider difficult times as difficult times. God may be separating you unto Himself because He knows what you can become.
However, if you wait too long and God does have to help you repent, “do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him;” (Hebrews 12:5b).
|It is out of an increase in your ability to hear the truth of God that you will see an increase in the quality of your behaviour|
You don’t have to “faint” when you are disciplined by God because it also says, “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us…That we may live before Him. So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth” (Hos.6:1-3).
Again let me emphasize it is much better for us to take action now than to wait and have God do it later:
“Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore you shall serve your enemies”
God is good. The Bible says,” ‘For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, ‘declares the Lord God. ‘Therefore, repent and live.’” (Ezek.18:32). Serving and single-heartedly loving Him is far better than serving our enemies.
It is never too late to turn to God!
Thank Him that it is right and good and safe for you to move forward with holiness: “…the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.”
We are to live by faith—the pressure is not on us to perform better. The pressure is on us to believe.
It is out of an increase in your ability to hear the truth of God that you will see an increase in the quality of your behavior. I.e the more you listen to the truth, the better your behavior improves per excellence
Hearing the truth is your capacity for faith and growth in the Lord.
Sowing seed in your heart until you are able to “hear” and believe will pave the way for repentance and holiness experience that lasts.
Don’t make this mistake:
“…do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
Don’t regard lightly the kindness of God. Let His kindness lead you to repentance. Soften your heart so that you increase your ability to “hear” and find freedom to turn to God.
I am praying for the Lord’s abundant blessing on your efforts to direct your heart toward Him.
Don’t wait for a disaster that forces you to repent and make you begin the sweet walk of holiness with God! Taking assertive steps toward holiness won’t hurt nearly as much as if you wait for God to discipline you.
Take action now!!!