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Friday, April 24, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

We unpacked our suitcases and looked longingly at the motel pool. It would be pleasant after a long day's drive.

Later that evening we prepared for a sound sleep. Before turning off the light, I flicked on the television to catch the late news. On that channel were naked bodies in an orgy.

I turned the television off promptly; but I was left with such disgust, such anger at sin, that I was in on mood to rest. I was ready for battle.

How can a Christian stay pure in an impure world? Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8, KJV). If He said it, it must be possible.

In our own strength we cannot be holy. Therefore, His Spirit must empower us with such righteousness.

Jesus accented the heart. He went to the heart of the matter of holiness when He focused on the center of our longings. Our core of commitment must be so aligned with Jesus so that the impurity encircling us does not lodge in us.

We must furnish the heart's desires with Bible reading and prayer. We must fellowship with those who likewise hunger for more of Jesus.

Determining to know more of the Spirit of Jesus in practical holiness is to "see God," Jesus promised. That means seeing God now.

When we separate ourselves consciously from the evil in the world, we must likewise separate ourselves to the purity of Jesus. The more we walk and talk with Jesus, the more we see Him with the vision of our hearts.

Paul wrote: "Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit" (Romans 8:5, NKVJ).

Wickedness never takes a vacation; it was loose in the first century. It was necessary for Paul to preach about separation from evil to righteousness, the flesh warring against the spirit. Paul pointed to the victory one could gain by setting one's mind on things above. He joined the accent on the head with Jesus' accent on the heart.

Paul stressed the free will of the believer, instructing Christians to set their minds on the Spirit.

That means consciously working out personal salvation in fear and trembling by refusing to have anything to do with sin.

This underlines the need for developing holy habits. Being holy does not happen automatically. It results from a disciplined life, one rooted in the Scriptures and determined to pray through to triumph over evil.

Paul also wrote: "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but are in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you" (Romans 8:8,9, NKJV).

Paul contended with those who testified of the Spirit's presence but did not live up to the profession. Holiness is not only a testimony; it must be a daily reality.

Paul continued: "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:24,25,NASB). Jesus calls us to live holy lives, even in an impure world. Believers must crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.

As we look about us at the decaying world, we give God thanks that we have hope in Jesus. Our ties are not here. But in the meantime, we have work to do. It is the work of purity.

God "chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him," (Ephesians l:4, NASB).

What a privilege to live today. We have the glorious opportunity to be God's salt in the earth, His lights of the world.

Place your heart in the Bible. Pray. Fellowship with the saints. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

With all that going for you, you need never fall.