CLARIFICATION (Added 05/17/2020)– Godly living is not the same as legalism (obeying rules to get into Heaven). Those truly in Jesus naturally will experience a transformation from the Holy Spirit. True Christians live a set-apart life as scripture shows because true believers cannot go back to a sinful life. That doesn’t mean they are perfect, but convicted when they do sin! We live differently out of love for Jesus, not for ourselves. We should never be comfortable with sin. Jesus doesn’t want us to be bondservants of sin, but bondservants of righteousness!
CLARIFICATION (Added 04/20/2020) – I mention this at the bottom of the post, but please understand, I am not separating witnessing to others from living a holy life. To pick up our cross automatically means we should be reaching others for Jesus. This post dives into understanding how sin can enter our life and why we need to repent. These ways we are being set apart should be speaking to others. And the reason WHY we are meant to be set apart should be fuel and desire to reach others and share what Jesus has done.
Are we living for Jesus or selfishly living for ourselves? It’s very easy to slap on a bandaid and say, “I’m a Christian. I believe in Jesus.” But just because a bandaid covers a wound, doesn’t mean the wound doesn’t exist. It is extremely possible we say we are a follower of Christ and are living a defiled life.
(ESV) 2 Peter 3:11, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness..”
Last week we dived into breaking down what does the will of God mean regarding scripture. Post | God’s Will | What Does The Bible Say? Part of God’s will is for us to be righteous and holy like Him. I think it’s important to break this down even more and look at holy living.
What kind of life are we living? What does it mean to live for Jesus?
(NIV) Romans 12:01, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.”
This scripture is really interesting.
HOW AM I TO BE A LIVING SACRIFICE? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
A living sacrifice – This shows us offering up our lives to the Lord. That we live in a way that is pleasing to Him. This was the whole purpose of sacrifices at the beginning of the Old Testament. Sacrifices were meant to be a pleasing aroma to the Lord. Animal sacrifices were killed, and the blood, which represents life, was poured out in a way to show purification and sins of the people be forgiven. These sacrifices pointed to what Jesus would later do on the cross.
To be a living sacrifice means to be set apart.
To live holy and unblemished, as sacrifices in the Old Testament were unblemished. Of course, we, by ourselves alone, cannot provide this. Jesus Christ can! He became the atonement sacrifice (unblemished and without sin) for us so that through Him we can approach the Lord in a bold and worthy manner.
Those who truly believe in Jesus are forgiven, we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive 1 John 1:09, and when this happens, believers then pick up their cross for Jesus. This means they learn more from Him (reading scripture, learning from mature believers). They begin to show the fruit of the Holy Spirit because those who have truly been forgiven receive the Comforter to dwell in them and help them repent from sin, seeking forgiveness from Jesus.
This whole process is what it means to live a sanctified (holy) life. We cannot get rid of our sin by ourselves, we need Jesus!
Romans 12:01 (see above scripture) says how we use our bodies reflects how we worship God. Worship is not just singing songs and lifting hands. Worship comes through honoring God. Post | How To Worship Without Music
In understanding that we are to be living sacrifices, how we live our life shows if we are using our body for true and proper worship. Let’s break this down: (These examples are here to point to why we need Jesus and to be focused on walking with Him.)
- Mind– What are our secret thoughts? Are they sinful? (Judgemental, lustful, envious, revenge-seeking, self-hating, etc) Are we praying to the Lord in our mind daily and giving Him our thoughts?
- Eyes– What are our eyes looking at? Are we looking at the nakedness of others? Is it godly? Or does this disgust God? What are we watching or reading?
- Mouth– Are we eating what is good for our body? Are we partaking in something too much? (Gluttony, Drunkard) Is what we partaking in allowing us to be sober-minded, to think clearly? Are we speaking praises and prayers to the Lord daily? Are we speaking hurtfully? Are we speaking about Jesus to others or do we hide Him?
- Touch– Are our hands clean? Are we flipping through pages we shouldn’t? Typing or writing words we shouldn’t? Opening the door to places we should not enter? Driving to places we shouldn’t go? Are we buying things we need or splurging on things we want? Is money an idol, something we use to feel good? Are we hurting ourselves, through eating or self-affliction? Are we spending a lot of time on phones or spending hours logging in games? Are we pleasing our bodies in ways that are meant for our spouse? Are we serving others over ourselves?
- Our Body– Are we revealing our nakedness to someone who is not our spouse? Are we willingly allowing our bodies to be used by another who is not our spouse? Are we tempting others with our clothing? (NOTE: this doesn’t mean it allows ANYONE to take advantage of another no matter what someone wears, but as a follower of Jesus we are to be modest, men included!)
- Feet– Similar to hands, are we walking to places we should go? Are we forsaking the assembling of the body of Christ? (In times like COVID-19, consider gathering together through video chat, emails, text messages, phone calls, etc. You can still praise the Lord together, pray together, read scripture together, and discuss. When we have options to spend time with other brothers and sisters in Christ DO IT!)
HOW DO I LIVE IN A GODLY AND HOLY MANNER?
Paul answers us.
(NLT) Romans 12:02, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” See also: Ephesians 4:23-24, Colossians 3:10, 1 Peter 1:14, 1 John 2:15
Many believers argue that if they do not “feel” convicted about something then that means God allows them to keep it in their life. However, the word of God gives us very clear instructions on how we can determine if something is godly or not, regardless of how we “feel.”
(NIV) Ephesians 5:08-10, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
We see a list in scripture that shows us what is NOT godly and when we partake of media or people who are encouraging these ungodly things… it’s really hard to defend ourselves and say it’s still okay when it’s clear our media, actions, or those around us are ungodly and we are told to be set apart from that. It’s a tug of war that, whether we realize it or not, makes us lukewarm.
WHAT TO STAY AWAY FROM AS A FOLLOWER OF JESUS:
- Romans gives us a huge list of what God considers to be sin: envy, murder, strife (angry or bitter disagreement), deceit, malice, gossipers, slanderers, God-haters, insolent (showing lack of respect), arrogant (having an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance), boastful. They invent new forms of evil. Disobey parents. Senseless, faithless, heartless, merciless. They know the truth, yet disobey and approve of those who practice sin. (Romans 1:29-32)
- sexual immorality, impurity, greed – these are improper for God’s holy people (Ephesians 5:03)
-Impure and greedy also refers to having idols, anything or anyone we place as a higher priority over God in our life. Being impure is an idol. Being greedy, envious, and the like is an idol. (Ephesians 5:05)
- obscenity (cursing, offensive words, obscene behavior, and obscene images) foolish talk (unwise, not good judgment, gossip), coarse joking (rude, crude, or vulgar) this would include speaking badly of others, belittling, etc. (Ephesians 5:04)
- sexually immoral, idolators, adulterers, submitting or performing homosexual acts, thieves, drunkards, verbal abusers, swindlers, all will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:09) See also: 1 Corinthians 5:11
(NIV) Mark 4:19, “but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
BE CAREFUL OF THOSE WHO SURROUND YOU THE MOST
We are warned to be careful about who we surround ourselves with.
(NIV) 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” See also: Proverbs 22:25
Scripture says those we associate with influence us and we can learn their ways. If we are hanging out with people who are sinful and desensitized to God’s word then they will NOT push us closer to Jesus but, instead, pull us away. This doesn’t mean we can’t meet up and minister to others, but we do need to be guarded and not follow the same path as sinners. Otherwise, what kind of example are we really?
To be a living sacrifice is to make a choice every single day to live for Jesus and not for ourselves. We offer ourselves up to Him in a way that is honorable, turning away from what is dishonorable. This is only done through the Savior and what He did on the cross for us. It is not an easy path and many will fall away because the path is narrow. There are many “believers” who think they are living for Jesus when they have a defiled life.
(NLT) 1 Corinthians 15:34, “Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.”
What are other scriptures that discuss things that are sinful?
Monthly Scripture- (NKJ) Psalm 85:04, “Restore us, O God of our salvation, and cause Your anger toward us to cease.”
Monthly Community Prayer– April 2020, – Join us in praying for one another, if you have requests let me know
Second Blog: Peeking Beneath