How would you feel if distant relatives showed up unannounced on your doorstep with plans to stay for a week and were eager to take a tour of your house? Would you have to scramble to avoid embarrassment?
A commitment to holiness means having a life that is always “ready for company” and “open for inspection”—a life that can stand up to scrutiny—not just in the obvious things, but in the “hidden places” where most might not think to look.
Most Christians know how to do a quick pick-up in their lives whenever others come around to take a look. They know how to look and act when they’re at church or want to leave a good impression on a friend.
But here’s the real test: what would others discover if they took a closer look at your life? What would they find if they started opening the closets and drawers of your life?
This is one of the primary issues Jesus had with the Pharisees of His day. The problem wasn’t with their outward behavior—their lust for human praise made them star performers. But Jesus could see what the people they were trying so hard to impress couldn’t see—their hearts. And that’s where the trouble was.
Like the Pharisees, we have an amazing capacity to feel good about ourselves because we don’t commit certain kinds of sins, while brushing off as insignificant the interior pollution of our hearts. We’ve never committed physical adultery, but we entertain lustful thoughts about someone else’s mate. We don’t commit acts of physical violence, but we harbor hatred toward those who have wronged us and mentally assassinate them or emotionally cut them off.
Making It Personal
The New Testament authors challenge believers to recognize their position in Christ: justified, redeemed, set apart for His purposes. They also exhort us to live a life consistent with our position.
Take time to look up each of the following passages from Paul’s epistles that describes some aspect of what it means to live a holy life. Then prayerfully consider the application questions.
Speak the Truth (Colossians 3:9–10; Ephesians 4:25)
- Are you deceiving anyone about anything?
- Are you more concerned about what others think of you than about what God knows to be true?
Put Away Anger (Ephesians 4:31)
- Are you holding anger in your heart toward anyone?
- Are you easily irritated? Prone to impatience?
Watch Your Tongue (Ephesians 4:29; 5:4)
- Does profanity, unholy talk, or coarse jesting come from your lips?
- Do you gossip or slander others?
Be Sensitive to the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30)
- Are you sensitive to the things that grieve the Holy Spirit?
- Are you quick to respond to the conviction of God’s Spirit when you have sinned?
Put on Forgiveness and Love (Colossians 3:12–13)
- Are you holding a grudge or harboring bitterness in your heart toward anyone? Is there anyone who has hurt or wronged you that you have not fully forgiven?
- Is your life marked by love?
Let His Peace Rule (Colossians 3:15)
- Does the peace of Christ control your life, or do you often fret and worry about circumstances beyond your control?
- Do you trust the sovereign wisdom and love of God to order your steps?
Embrace Your God-Designed Role in the Home (Colossians 3:18–21)
- Are your family relationships ordered according to the plan God has revealed in His Word?
- Wives: Are you submitting to the authority and leadership of your husband? Do you show reverence and respect in your attitude toward him and in the way you talk to him and about him to others?
Exhibit Godly Character (Ephesians 5:1)
- Is there anything in your life that does not bear a “family resemblance” to God?
- Is there any pattern or practice in your life that, if others followed it, would lead them away from God?
Be Morally Pure (Ephesians 5:3)
- Is your thought life pure?
- Are you chaste and discreet in your relationships with members of the opposite sex?
Walk in the Light (Ephesians 5:8–10)
- Do you consciously seek to know and do what pleases the Lord?
- Is there any area of your life that could not withstand the scrutiny of His holy light?
www.reviveourhearts.org. Used by permission.