Distinguishing Between Holiness and Hollowness

Jesus assured us that He will bring to full completion the work He began. Knowing this, we should acknowledge that personal holiness can only be realized when one incorporates discipline into his or her life for the sole purpose of engaging in the study of becoming more like Jesus. The bible teaches how to be more like Jesus. Leading a spiritually disciplined life leads to a personal holy life. According, to Pastor John Russell, the definition of “Personal Holi-ness” is a lifestyle characterized by obedience to the Word of God; submission to the Will of God; character like the Son of God; with a sense of the Presence of God” Russell (2000). Once a commitment is made to change one’s lifestyle to please God, then and only then is it possible to submit to the Will of God. Additionally, in absence of full submission it is impossible to engage in godly-obedience, or exemplify the presence of the Lord in one’s life. A life that lacks the presence of God is hollow, void of everything necessary to receive God’s blessings.

To be personally holy is to be personally responsible for doing whatever is necessary to line our lives up with God’s Word. Although it is impossible for man or woman to become Holy based on their own power, nothing is impossible for God.

    Concepts of personal Holiness involve a change of heart, implementing new values and developing a new way of living. No human can effectuate holiness on another. One must surrender his or her life to God, be serious about the undertaking, as well as show evidence of a desire to take off the old and put on the new; even if that means losing friends, family, and worldly desires. Personal hollowness occurs when one resists divine direction, opting to answer to Satan instead.

Concept of Spiritual Growth

The Word of God was, and still is the only effective weapon against Satan inclusive of his tricks that lead to sin and spiritual demise. For Christians to grow spiritually it is necessary to recognize the urgency of keeping a lifeline attached to the Holy Spirit. In absence of a lifeline to Jesus, we are merely broken vessels lost at sea, sinking, never to be rescued. Reading and internalizing Good’s Word is the lifeline every Christian should be reaching for. It not only feeds us so that we grow accordingly, it also trains our ears to hear His voice, and our eyes to see His signs. Another powerful tool that is needed as we grow spiritually, and runs parallel in importance to reading God’s Word is “prayer.” Prayer is the only direct line to the Father and cannot be substituted with any other earthly or human process. “Spiritual Growth is a choice” it does not happen by default, it occurs when we choose to grow. Unless we make the choice and stick to it, there will be no spiritual growth.” Copeland (2001) Spiritual Growth Concepts differ depending on the writer but the basics remain consistent:

  1. Spiritual food is necessary to grow spiritually just as dietary food is needed to experience physical growth. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
  2. Sin ~ repenting of sin of all kind must take place before spiritual growth can begin. “Be not of the world” give us a strong message regarding living an ungodly sinful life. “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” James 1: 13-14
  3. God’s Word ~ One must study to show himself or herself approved because if the Word is not in us neither is the Lord. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV)
  4. Surrounding oneself with believers helps empower and encourage those in need of spiritual and divine support made possible through God’s intercession.” For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20 NIV)
  5. Action ~ Mature Christians do more than recite scripture, they live by scripture which means they answer God’s call to serve with their time, money, and spiritual gifts. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 ESV)

The above concepts certainly do not include necessary to step to achieve spiritual growth but do cover those are that are unarguably important. [God promises to stay involved through the life-long process of spiritual growth. It’s in the Bible, Philippians 1:6, NKJV. “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/r-growth]

Concepts of Serving God

Evidence of relevant work that can be construed as work performed for the Glory of God, which is a prerequisite before one can claim to be serving God, may prove to be a thorn in the side of many professed believers. As it seems, the Lord has criteria and Commands that if not followed may cause God to reject our service. For this reason, it is critical that we precisely discern what God determines to be worthy works. Of course we must also bear in mind that no matter how good the works, alone they will not suffice access to heaven.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)

How to Serve God

  1. Love

“The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. (Galatians 5:14)

Perhaps the colossal stumbling block for many could end up being a failure to love thy neighbor as we ourselves.” No doubt, it is impossible to serve the Lord and selectively choose who to serve when He has already commanded us to pretty much love everybody. Will there be exceptions? You know like. “he divorced my sister.” Suppose people feel a certain kind of way but do not act like they feel a certain kind of way?” Well, maybe the people can be fooled, or not know what is in the heart, but God knows all.

  1. Compassion

    God did not put us on earth to sit back and watch others suffer. We have been called to be a beacon of light in the lives of those who cannot see their way. ““The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” – Matthew 25:40

  2. Hospitality

    Having the and sharing the gift of hospitality is a beautiful expression of God’s love. Some people are really good at making others feel welcome, comfortable and special. Christians should do that whenever they can to be hospitable to others, especially strangers. This does not me that Christians should go out and solicit strangers to be hospitable too. Instead it is suggesting to show anybody who crosses your path kindness and whenever possible hospitality. In the New Testament, the Greek word translated “hospitality” literally means “love of strangers.” One of my favorite bible stories is about the The Shunammite Woman and her godly-exhibit of hospitality toward the Prophet Elisha. She had rememberd his kindness toward her in the past. And went an opportunity arose she went out of he way to be hospitable.

    She said to her husband, “Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God passing by us continually. Please, let us make a little walled upper chamber and let us set a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; and it shall be, when he comes to us, that he can turn in there.” 2 Kings 4: 9-10

Other Ways to Serve God

Worship Him, Praise Him, Love Him with all your heart and soul,

Obey Him, Seek His Wisdom, Forgive others as they have forgiven you.

Reflections

Living out these concepts is a fulltime work and shortcuts are not permitted. There is no way anybody can successfully and consistently apply these and similar concepts without God’s grace and guidance. One change a Christian has to make in to begin the process of spiritual formation with the intent of serving God requires asking God to change the heart.” There appears to be is no possible way one can serve the Lord unless God gives him or her a clean heart. Additionally, we must accept that it is only through God’s grace that becoming a Christian is possible. The possibility does not hang on any good deed or power we as humans may do or have.

I am still a work in progress. The deeper I connect with God’s Word the more work I realize how much further I have to go before He is pleased with my life. In essence, I am still a work in progress. My prayer is that God will continue to work with me, my mind and my heart.

I revisit these concepts on a regular basis because practice makes perfect. Seeking God’s wisdom was instrumental in allowing me to see where my shortcomings lie. God is able. He can fix anything that is broken. He did it for me and He can do it for you. The time is now!


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