By Berhanu B. Wari (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1 Peter 1:13-17
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “holy”?
Definition: “Qodesh/qadesa” (Hebrew), “hagios” (Greek) – apartness, set-apartness, separateness, totally other, different from the world, etc.
Holy Spirit – A different Spirit from any other spirit in this world, like the one Caleb had (Numbers 14:24) a different Spirit.
The Holy Spirit wants to do with you what he did with Mary – conceived Jesus in her and used her to raise him till he became Jesus the Savior. Similarly, he wants to birth Jesus in you (happened when you were born again) and raise him to save the world through you and serve God. Saving you and taking you to heaven is the ultimate goal but there is an equally important goal to be achieved on this earth.
To be instruments of the Holy Spirit, cleanse yourself from the common things of wood and clay – flee from evil desires… Separate yourself, be holy because Jesus needs you as a vessel (2 Tim 2:20-22).
God is not looking for an upgraded, improved life a person but a transformed person by incarnating Jesus in the person. Jesus is the only person that did the will of God in whom God was well-pleased. Jesus is the only person that overcame the world, tempted in every way yet without sin. He is the answer to every question and the solution to every problem.
That is what God dreams of doing with your life – turn you to a “mini Jesus” and continue to conquer the world and advance his heavenly kingdom. The Holy Spirit is tasked with glorifying Jesus in you by making him more known, understood and his character developed in you (John 16:14-15, Gal. 2:22-23). Hence, as children, we are called to be holy as He is holy- to be different, set apart and live as foreigners. Then and only then the word tills the heart and the spirit fills the opening.
So, how can we be different, set apart for him?
- Fight Sin as Jesus did
Jesus has gone ahead of us as a conqueror of sin. We shouldn’t be tired but fight till the end. Do not let sin entangle you and hold you down – fight until your bleed, until it hurts, until it yourself is denied of sleep, comfort, glory and peace. We gotta be radical and cut whatever causes us to sin as Jesus commanded (Mark 9:43-48). Don’t be easy on your sinful nature or excuse your nature, weakness, etc. Let no relationship, job opportunity, social status, etc. lead you to sin. We gotta put up the fight against the arrows of the enemy. We gotta be in the battle, don’t surrender even if you are defeated. Pray hard, stay in the word, expose the sin, talk about it when it is still a temptation.
The grace has been revealed to teach us/motivate us, empower us to say “NO!” to sin. This unmerited favor of God towards sinners is abundant – a million for one sin. Paul, who considered himself the worst of sinners, a killer of Christians, became a commissioner of salvation when Jesus met him without even proving himself. He was so impacted by this grace and grew into his new role quickly (1 Corinthians 15:9-11). That grace fueled him to work hard and beat his body to discipline (1 Cor. 9:24-27).
One may argue that “if my sin brings out more of God’s grace, why don’t I sin more….?” That would be abusing God’s grace and secondly, we have died to our sins when we repented and we’ll keep killing it. So, there is no chance to live in it again. We deny ourselves and refuse to be mastered by sin.
Fighting sin (not never sinning) is what makes us different from the world. Holy! The world lives in oblivion or surrendered to this struggle.
- Repent regularly
Our fight struggle against sin does not always end in victory. God has blessed people with tremendous power and gifts: physical strength, beauty, different talents, influence, knowledge, invention, etc. When they abuse those power and blessings, sin is at hand. Men have a lot of strength and when they abuse it, they oppress others and cause them to be bitter. Women have so much beauty and when they abuse it, they bring men to their knees no matter how much their strength is. Monica Lewinsky just had to lift up her top and show Bill Clinton her naked back. He was the president of the world’s most powerful nation. Some people have artistic talents which when they abuse them can influence the desires of others into darkness. Others have oratorical skills to influence the minds of people into ungodly views of things. Abuse of technology has brought channels of sin closer than ever. Our struggle against sin is so much influenced by our environment, our close associations. Even being close to somebody in a relationship gives you so much power over them. Married people have enormous power over each other. Family members, friends, colleagues, etc. have power over each other. Be careful what you do and how you handle those powers and privileges.
“If anyone causes any of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” (Mark 9:42).
Because of our own inclinations towards sin and our environments, our struggle against sin sometimes ends in defeat. No matter how hard we fight, which we should, we don’t always win. We are tempted daily. They come from both internal and external, voice from in and out. Satan appeals to our weaknesses and those of others to lure us to sin. And most times, unfortunately, we do get defeated. Sin is part of our journey. As we walk with the Lord longer, our weaknesses will also be exposed so we grow out of them. We shouldn’t be discouraged. Jesus heals those wounds, cleanses the stains and helps you up again (1 John 2:1-2). He is our attorney in heaven who defends us and our doctor who treats our wounds –He is our Savior who heals our souls.
Jesus is the perfect high priest who understands how fierce and hard the battle is. Feel confident to approach the throne of grace in repentance. Confidence after sinning? Yes. “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?” (Romans 8:33). Let no one try to nullify your Christian faith, or tarnish your character because of your sin. They don’t have the right to bring any accusation against you even if you are found guilty as long as you repent. The guilt will be on them, not on you. Your part is repentance.
Repent: change your mind and ask for forgiveness. If you change your mind about your sin, you shouldn’t protect it any more. You rather expose it (Ephesians 5:11-14, James 5:16). Repentance should be a culture of a disciple.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 5:8-9).
To be used by Lord as noble vessels, we should do our best not to give in to sin. We should show the will never to surrender. But like in any battle when we get injured by sin, we don’t get discouraged or afraid, but we repent allowing the Holy spirit to flow.
May God sanctify you again and again!