“Living the Christian Life”
I sense that there is urgency in the heart of God at this hour for His children to know and live out His way of life. A great deal of emphasis has been placed on the things we should do as it refers to our gifts and talents. You ask the question: What is your call? And many will answer; “Well, I am called to be a preacher, an Evangelist, a Prophet, a Pastor, a Teacher, etc.” Even as all of these calls and others are important in the Body of Christ as a tool for the expansion of God’s Kingdom; it is not where our emphasis should be placed at.
A good friend and mentor in my life, Pastor Gerard Cruse from the church, “Consuming Fire” in Jacksonville, Florida; has been teaching a long series about holiness. This week he is on his 18th Sunday teaching on this subject. Reverend Cruse says it this way: “We are not called to do, we are called to be.” The foundation of Pastor Cruse’s teaching is found in First Peter 1:16, “for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.” I must say that I requested all of the CDs regarding Pastor Cruse’s teachings on holiness. This on-going series is complementing what I have been feeling concerning “Christian Living” for some time.
Holiness is more than an appropriate behavior. The Old Testament emphasized on external dos and don’ts; however, holiness in the New Testament flows from within our hearts. You are either pursuing holiness or not. The Holiness church; even as they are pursuing a good thing; they are going about the wrong way, for they are trying to force behaviors with rules and regulations. The result of that is that we have people that have mastered the art of acting certain ways, but their hearts are full of self-righteousness, judgment and an unloving and unmerciful Pharisee spirit. The disturbing mental vision of women without make-up, unshaved legs and unshaved armpits come to mind. The legalistic movement has caused such a great deal of damage to the point where nobody wants to talk about holiness anymore. The mention of holiness in this article alone perhaps, is causing many to feel uncomfortable already. “Oh Angel, you are into works!” I can hear some say. “These are the times of grace!” others may say. “The Holy Spirit will do the work! Etc. And the minimizing arguments against holiness will continue to grow as we close into the end-times when the good will seem bad and the bad will seen good.
My dear friends, I will dedicate the next few articles (I don’t know how many) to the topic of Christian Living. Christian Living is the face of Holiness. The Apostles dedicated a great deal of time and emphasis in their writings concerning how to live the Christian life. With this series I will show you Biblically how a Man and a Women of God should look and think like. Again, the emphasis here is not in works or acting and behaving certain ways; the emphasis here is for us to come face to face with God’s standards. When we take a good look at His standards and we take a deeper look at ourselves, I pray for an explosion in our lives that would cause a true desire for change and an even greater desire to die to self.
The call to be holy is a universal call in-spite of what you and I are called to do. You being called to the nations, called to be an Apostle, a Prophet, etc. does not exempt you or me from the responsibilities of Christian Living. Your gift is not the determined factor in justifying how you should behave and relate to God, God’s people and the world. The idea that God’s standards for Christian Living changes based on what you are called to do is un-biblical and tragic.
During this series, if you are like me, you will quickly find out that you are not where God wants you to be. That my friends; is a great start! For many of us, it took hell and back for us to begin to see the awful condition of our own hearts. May the Lord help us and give us understanding as we answer the call to be holy.