What’s Lurking in Your Spam Folder?


Still mulling over how to live a holy life? It begins with a healthy fear of God.

I try to check my Spam folder with some regularity as important emails can get stuck there. But I have to admit, I dread the job.

Immediately I’m hit with all kinds of strange names and subject lines. People are hawking everything from flab-control pills to lonely senior citizens wanting to chat. But today when I scanned the folder, I wanted to cry. Here’s what greeted me:

“Why wait? Have an affair with a cheating married woman!”

Who sends these kinds of messages? And who in the world would open such an email?

This subject line takes God’s sacred plan for marriage and smears it with the profane. Holiness smattered with smut.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the subjects of holiness and purity lately. Maybe because I see so little of it expressed in our culture . . . and I long to see more of it in me.
What is “holiness” exactly?

“As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15–16)

The Greek word translated “holy” in this passage means to be “set apart,” to be distinct or different in the sense of being special or sacred. The Holy of Holies in the temple was “set apart” as the most sacred place. A holy place is not to be profaned or treated commonly. It is set apart for God’s purposes.

If I’m to be holy in all my conduct, what does that look like?

It means I belong to God and therefore take on His pure, blameless, righteous character. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here . . . holiness is not self-righteousness.

Holiness is shattered self-righteousness. It is trusting Jesus’ righteousness alone that produces holy desire and provides us with victory for daily holy living.

Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, believers are provided with positional righteousness, we are cleansed by His blood, and we are the "temple of God."   Because of this, we are called to live holy lives:

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7:1)

I’m still mulling over how to “perfect holiness” in my own life. It begins with a fear of God. Out of reverence for who He is, I desire to live a holy life. If I truly desire to glorify Him, I must reflect His holiness. But I won’t become holy through focusing on a bunch of self-inflicted rules and pumping up my will-power to live out those rules.

No, I think the way I flesh out holiness and begin to take on this kind of holy character is through fixing my eyes on Jesus and loving Him more than I love my sin:

Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider Him who endured such hostility against himself, so that you will not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Heb. 12:1–4)

What about you? How are you fighting sin and perfecting holiness in your life?

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