There are different explanations and experiences of Worship. It could be because of one’s denominational, cultural, or musical background, but there’s nothing like going to the word seeing and reading the many oracles on this subject. Worship is obedience and sacrifice to God, but sometimes we can allow a half-heartedness and carelessness to creep into our worship like the people of God did in the book of Malachi.
Offering God any kind of worship and not caring one bit, knowing what kind He desired. The Law of Moses required they bring animals without blemish, the finest from their flock. But they kept the finest for themselves and brought to the altar that which showed disrespect for God, who they claimed to honor and worship. They were offering animals with blemishes for sacrifice. “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great King,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is feared among the nations!” (Malachi 1:14, NLT).
Because God gave His son Jesus as a sacrifice, to die on the cross on a hill called Calvary, shedding His blood for you and me covering our sins, rising from the grave on the third day, today we don’t have to bring animals for our worship. We can offer a life of holiness, acceptable and pleasing unto Him. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? (Romans 12:1, NLT). We are now the offering; it’s our bodies that He wants placed on the altar.
Just like He didn’t want them (Old Covenant) bringing animals with blemishes, He tells us (New Covenant) through the Apostle Peter to be blemish free, holy. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be his children—is holy. For he himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT). Holiness is what He wants for us.
Scripture of the Day: “God has called us to be holy, not to live impure lives.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:7
Just recently – deeply engaged in a time of worship, eyes closed, hands raised, self-awareness completely torched by the grandeur of God’s glory – an image of God impressing Himself on the human canvas suddenly burst onto my mind’s consciousness. I saw what seemed like a large, spongy block, very similar to a memory foam mattress, and then the shape of a person slowly imprinting the sponge until the sponge completely lost its original shape and became entirely defined by this prominent impression.
As I watched the image in my mind, I meditated on God’s ultimate desire. Undeniably, His will is to influence and impress Himself upon us until we mirror and reflect Him completely. Of course, this indentation of God upon our lives requires that we first present ourselves as sponges or permanent ‘memory foams’ that will easily contour to His touch.
Holiness does not require of us monk-like lifestyles or overly-ascetic tendencies. It isn’t about proving yourself, punishing yourself, or earning your way; instead it is very much about allowing God to mold your will until Christ is fully formed in you. Holiness is meant to be reflective. Repeatedly, God’s heart towards His people is echoed through His word, as He declares, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Holiness is a ‘be-as-I-am’, ‘do-as-I-do’ principle, and is therefore unattainable without relationship with God and the abiding presence of His Spirit.
When we come to terms with the fact that it is God who saves us, God who cleans us, God who perfects us, and God who keeps us from falling, we will stop trying to enforce our own form of righteousness. We will realize that it is as impossible for us to make our own selves holy as it is for a lump of clay to mold itself. It is God who sanctifies us. It is He who works with our surrendered wills and makes of us holy vessels.
Today, as you go about your day, intentionally allow yourself to be shaped by God. Holiness means that your life should be reflective of the God who has imprinted Himself – His mind, His Spirit, His will – on you. He is pressing into the spongy fabric of your life at this very moment.
Reference Scripture: “As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.” – Jeremiah 18:6
What does the word holiness mean to you? Often times as Christians when we hear the word holiness, we paint a picture of a certain group of people belonging to a certain type of church, wearing certain types of clothes and talking a certain way. When I was growing up and heard the word holiness, a picture was painted in my mind. A picture of older women who wore white dresses and cotton stockings. I am not saying that these people were not holy, but as I matured in Christ, I came to learn that holiness has nothing to do with wardrobe or appearance, but it does have everything to do with lifestyle.
Christ reminds us to be holy for He is holy. What does this mean? Clearly, this is a direct command for us to model our lives after the example that has been set before us since the foundation of the world. Holiness is simply separation. Not separation from the world, but separation from the way the world acts. In an effort to live a holy live, it means that we should be deliberate in being distinct from those who do not know Christ. Our God is different from all so-called other Gods, therefore we must live according to His will and give Him glory.
It was God’s original plan for his creation to be like Him. Because our father Adam fell, we must now strive to live a life that God intended for us to live from the beginning of time. We are living in a world that has been infiltrated and influenced by the rulers of darkness. It even seems that some of the rituals of the world has even crept into the church. As Christians we must wave the banner high which reads, “Holiness Is Still Right.”
Some would argue that the church has lost itself and that people have lost respect for the church because there seems to be no power. What we fail to realize is that we are the church and that we are not our own, but bought with a high price. We are like pilgrims traveling from a far land and we are to represent out homeland from whence we have come. It is not necessary for us to carry a big Bible so others can know who we represent, but people should be able to look at our lives and notice a distinct difference in who we are. Living a life of holiness will help us walk away from strongholds and will give us the power not having to look back.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that strongholds will not be present. Yes, we wrestle against the constant desires and lust of the old nature, but this is an internal struggle. I am reminded of the US Marine who once wrote, “Two natures beat within my breast, the one is cursed, the other is blessed. The one I love, the other I hate, the one I feed will dominate.” We must learn to hate the desires of the world and of our flesh and continue to feed and nourish our spirit man who will lead us down the path of righteousness and holiness.
Yes, the saints of old may have worn white dresses and cotton stockings, but they also knew what it meant to abstain from sin and live a life now of their own, but purchased by their redeemer. So, while holiness is not about outer appearance, it is about inner appearance. Ask yourself the question, what do people see when they look at what I am wearing (on the tables of my heart).
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14-day fasting and prayer July 2013. (1)
- Dateless days: Relationships are like flowers; they need the frequent care of water, nutrients in the soil, and daily sun light. Relationships similarly can’t grow without frequent care of one-on-one time, such as date nights. The time of couples focused on one another, creating emotional connection and building a stronger connection in the relationship. Don’t forget to water the relationship with adding on Dates!
- Computer love: Electronics are becoming more and more part of the Nigerian routine; however, the technology of text messaging and internet can create a wall between two people. I often see couples sitting side by side out to dinner, yet they vanished away into their own individual electronic worlds. Technology is getting in the way and distracting them from the relationship.
- Friendship Focal Points: For social butterflies, socializing is key and very significant for maintaining relationships. The problem for couples is when either one or both people put more emphasis on friendships and don’t create a healthy balance. When friendship is the main focal point, then the relationship shifts to the peripheral vision.
- No “Check-ins:” Quite frequently, partners may hear different messages than what their partner is actually meaning to say. The problem is that the simple step of checking in is overlooked and then reactions take over, starting the communication war.
- Back Burner Choices: When life gets tough, substance (such as drinking, shopping, eating, etc) is used to help alleviate stress and take away the emotional pain. Unfortunately, the choice of substance automatically puts the other partner on the back burner…creating the feeling as if they aren’t willing to navigate through the rough times by the side of their partner.
- Unsafe Zones: Safety is the comfort of your partner knowing that they can rely on you, get comfort from you, and know the . When someone criticizes, gets angry quickly, speaks down to, or over looks your emotional needs, it can create the sense of “it isn’t safe and my needs won’t be met.” This tends to push away partners and have them get comfort on their own or look for it in other ways
- Avoiding Tough Topics: Many people avoid tough discussions with their partner as a way to keep the relationship tightly connected; however it doesn’t create space to resolve issues. The partner on the receiving end may feel as you “go away” or “don’t care,” creating a feeling as if they have to hold on tighter, cling on, and get you to open up…which can actually push you further away.
- Email Snooping: An insecurely attached relationship can feel terrible, with fear and overly concern with what the other person is doing. Some partners take it upon themselves to do the investigation and search through emails to either confirm or deny their worst fears…a way to get comfort for their worry. The problematic part of this email snooping is that the insecure attachment does not get resolved, and the distress in the relationship becomes magnified.
- Holding on Too Tight: When the attachment is not secure, it can create a terrible feeling of fear of losing the relationship. Some people may want to feel secure and take away the discomfort by holding on very tightly and squeezing their partner extremely hard that they can’t breathe. When the holding is too tight, the partner on the receiving end will need to take a breath of air by pulling away….and the cycle of keeping the relationship insecurely attached continues.
- No Follow Through: Many people tell their partner one thing, and then do something different. For example, saying that you will be home by 6:00pm and then come home at 7:00pm. No follow through shows your partner that they can’t rely on you.
- Infidelity: An affair on the side WILL damage the relationship