Bible Studies & Devotionals

From Olive Branch Ministries

By Mark and Tinsley Baker

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Be Ye Holy as He is Holy

1 Corinthians 6: 19-20: Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's

1 Peter 1:13-16: 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.''

I have a very simple thought for you, life is not easy! It is full of pitfalls and traps placed by the enemy to ensnare you and destroy your witness! The enemy is determined that you will not succeed in you life as a Christian. In fact, he really wants you dead and if he cannot kill you then he will destroy you any way he can!

John 10:10: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Yes, the enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy, but Praise God! Jesus came to give us abundant life! Now that is something to get excited about!

There will be many temptations that will come your way as you learn to grow as a Christian. We often hear the Pastor quote Revelations 3 regarding a lukewarm Christian.

Revelations 3:15-16: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.

We cannot be people who sit on the fence all our lives. Believe me, when you try to do that 2 things will happen, one you will get "spiritual saddle sores" and the other is you will eventually fall to one side of the fence or the other. We will fall to the side that has the greatest pull. Unfortunately, that side is generally the world and its attractions. It is important for us to realize that our Heavenly Father expects us to grow and mature as Christians. We cannot stay babies all our lives. As you grow, you will be tempted in many areas. It is not the same for each of us, the enemy knows what buttons to push to get you to fail.

Letís stop and take a look at the prophet Daniel. Just to remind you Daniel was taken captive into Babylon at the age of 14-17 with the destruction of the nation of Judah and the fall of Jerusalem. I will not go into all I have learned over the past months while studying the Book of Daniel, but one thing that I learned is, once captive and in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, the captives were to be trained to accept the Babylonian culture and become "Babylonian". This included extensive training in the religion, culture, dress, actions and dietary habits of the culture. These practices were an abomination to these Hebrew young men because it was a very ungodly atmosphere. However, Daniel, even at that early age took a stand.

Daniel 1:8: But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Daniel " purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself"! Can you say the same thing? Have you taken a stand for God, that will not allow you to defile yourself, have you decided to be holy as He is holy?

I know for almost 15 years, I chose to be a nominal Christian, putting Jesus in a box in my heart and pulling Him out only when I needed Him. I did what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted. I wonít bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say things in my life were a mess! But then over 7 years ago both my husband and I made the individual decision and then the joint decision as a couple to return to the Lord, live our lives fully for Him and strive for holiness. Life has never been the same since and all I can say is I rejoice daily as I learn more and more about the Lord and learn to live in Him, for Him and through Him!

Now back to my original statement: "Life is not easy"! It has been a walk full of pitfalls daily, because the enemy does not want me to succeed. No one ever promised you a life of ease once you became a believer, in fact it is just the opposite. I donít know if you are familiar with " The Far Side" cartoons published during the 1980ís and 1990ís but the author had one that I really identified with. It was two deer standing in the forest talking, one had a huge bullís eye in the center of his chest. The caption read "Bummer of a birthmark, Fred." I donít know about you but that is how I feel at times, that I have a huge bullís eye in the center of my chest at which the enemy has 100% accurate aim!

As we saw in the opening Scriptures, God expects us to strive to live a life of holiness. It is a choice we make, one that God demanded of His followers from the beginning.

Genesis 17:1: When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.

God demanded holiness from Abraham and he demands no less from us. The wonderful thing is He provides a way for us to accomplish this and that is the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.''

The power of the Holy Spirit enables us to do all things including witness to others but it also enables us to live a life worthy of Christ.

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

What is holiness? As used in our Scripture in 1 Peter according to Vineís Greek Dictionary "Öin its moral and spiritual significance, separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacredÖyet believers are called to sanctify themselves." Holiness is moral and spiritual separation from sin that we as believers are to attain, through the strength of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us.

We are to work out our own salvation. We are to abstain from ungodly behavior. It is a choice we make! It is not something God does for us or makes us do. Daniel made this choice, he purposed in his heart not to defile himself. Have you made this choice in your life or do you continue to "play with fire"?

1 Corinthians 6:9-12: Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Many of us were sinners in the worst sense, yet Christ loved us and gave himself for us. The washing of the blood has sanctified us, it is important for us to realize that in Godís eyes we are the righteousness of Christ. But my questions today are, are you living a righteous life? Are you making choices that will glorify God in everything you do? If you can answer yes to this, then Praise God! Continue to live a life worthy of Him. However, if you are like me, there are many areas I continue to have difficulty with. I grow stronger in the Lord daily, but I mess up now and again. The wonderful thing about God is that he makes provisions for us, because He knows we will mess up and need his love and forgiveness.

1 John 1:8-9: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Apostle John was writing to believers when he wrote these words. In the next chapter, he addresses the recipients of this letter as "my little children". To be my child, you have to belong to my family, in this case the family of God. To be in the family of God you have to be born again. So you see, when he tells us if we confess our sins, he is talking to believers. If we as a believer confess our sin, our Heavenly Father is just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It is that simple. As Pastor says, "Confess it, forget it and move on."

Let me leave you with a thought for this week. Godís mercy toward us is everlasting, and once we repent from a sin and turn away from it, ask forgiveness for it, it does not exist in Godís eyes. That is how merciful God is. Meditate on the following verses in the next week, it will truly bless you!

Psalms 103:11-17: For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children,

Godís is good and His mercy endures forever! Amen!

Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?

If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),

So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).

I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).

I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),

And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!

I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!

Glory to God!!!! Amen.