As Christians, our prayers are often directed toward seeing the manifest presence of God in our midst – during our services, at home, and in the workplace. That is all well and good, but are our prayers compromised when we refuse to walk in personal holiness, making light the Lord’s commands? I emphatically declare, “YES!” In John chapter fourteen, verse twenty-one, Jesus states, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (NKJV). So many today want to focus on love, and indeed, it is the reason why God gave His only Son (John 3:16). That being said, the Lord’s standard of love is far higher than our own (Is. 55:8-9), and if we are going to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and then love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:34-40), it cannot happen outside of holiness. According to Christ, holiness is the proof of our love.
This is reinforced by Peter when he admonishes us as believers, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy for I am holy.’ And if you call on the Father who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pt. 1:13-19). Our lifestyle is evidence of our love for the Lord; it is our testimony. We cannot claim love for the Lord without having a testimony that backs it up!
It is relatively easy to put on the façade of holiness in church on a Sunday morning, having a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Tim. 3:1-5). However, what of the countless hours spent in front of the television, where we invite death into our home by observing murders, adultery, and fornication of all kind? What of our attitudes when we don’t get our way? How many have compromised personal holiness for the sake of being “a witness,” all the while never realizing that holiness is not only proof of your love, it is your witness? This was the whole point of Christ’s death. It took a perfect witness’s blood to redeem us. Christ could have claimed to be God all He wanted, yet if He had sinned, it would have made His testimony invalid. Does your life invalidate your witness or confirm it? Jesus explained it this way, “If someone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will to him and make our home with him. Someone who doesn’t love Me doesn’t keep My words – and the word you are hearing is not My own but that of the Father who sent Me” (CJB).
This is the question we, as the church, must answer at this time. Are we to be a soiled bride who has prostituted herself to the world by aligning our lifestyle with it, or will we choose to become a bride without spot or wrinkle; a bride in whom the Lord delights (Eph. 5:25-27)? After all, we are to be crucified with Christ, not make ourselves transgressors by entering into what He died to destroy in us. Nor can we invalidate His grace which works in us to overcome sin (Gal. 2:18-21).
My fellow Christians, I appeal to you to live your life, holy unto the Lord. It is to those who keep His commands that Christ promises to reveal Himself. The promises of the Lord are to the church who will overcome (Rev. 2-3; 12:11). Our nation needs an awakening. The world needs to see the manifest presence of Christ in our lives. Will we bow in repentance and live holy lives that reflect God’s character and nature, as living stones offering to God what is acceptable (I Pt. 2:4-5)? Just as personal holiness is evidence of our love for the Lord, so, too, our corporate holiness corroborates our corporate love. Let your lifestyle attest to your love. Never fear…they will still know us by our love. It’s just that our love will look more like Jesus, and that is the best thing – to be transformed into the image of His likeness (Rom. 8:28-39)! Let’s give the world what they’ve been hungering for – a love that transcends their definitions; a love that nothing can divide or separate! A love that is proven by holiness and enjoys the manifest presence of God in every facet of our lives!