It’s a heart matter

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My thoughts are change are this if you want change to happen, it must first happen in your heart.  You must want the change and ask God to change your heart on a matter.  Then change the way you think about it; change your mindset or renew your mind.  Then you will see manifestation of the change in the physical.

Dennis is working on a project for a class he his taking right now.  It starts out with a scripture study and progress to a paper in which you contrast two sides of an issue.  Before he knew about the paper, he choose the subject of Holiness.  His premise is that holiness is a heart matter.

We were discussing the project over dinner and he said, “How can Holiness be a subject of controversy?”.  Admittedly, I can find controversy in almost anything.  I can take almost any subject and argue an opposing point just to find out what the other person really thinks about it.  It’s kind of a gift or some might say a curse. I told him, “Are you kidding?  Holiness is a great controversial subject, ‘True Holiness verses Legalism’.” We discussed the matter at length.  Here are some thoughts that came out of the discussion.

True Holiness is a manifestation of the heart.

Pastor Randy Phillips (He’s popular with me this week) preached a series on Holiness.  He made several points that stuck with me (I listened to this on tape driving between Mobile, Alabama and Austin, Texas; 9 hour trip, so I should remember it word for word).  Holiness very simply means “Set aside (apart) for the Master’s use”.  That is it.  When the Children of Israel were preparing to build the tabernacle, Moses took up an offering.  They donated forks and spoons and ordinary items to the cause.  Once that fork was donated, it was no longer ordinary, it was holy; it was set a part for the Master’s use.  When we realize we are “set apart for the Master’s use” some things in our lives will change.  There will be some movies we do not watch because they are offensive to our Father.  There will be some words we no longer use because we are Holy and those words or common and ordinary.  There will be some places we longer frequent because we are Holy and Holy things have no place in those ordinary, common places.  When we realize we are Holy, there may be some items of clothing that no longer seem appropriate.  Holiness cannot mesh (form close connection) with the unholy.  Being “set aside for the Master’s use” makes you special, you are no longer ordinary.

Legalism does not work.  The Law was always meant to be the frame of salvation, NOT salvation.  It is like a car, cars have frames that maintain the shape of the car, but the frame itself is not the car.  You can drive a car but you cannot drive a frame.  The frame cannot get you where you are going.  Just like the Law cannot save you only Jesus can.  Jesus accused the religious people of His day of, “Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”  Even then, men made rules and taught them as if they were doctrine.  How much of that still goes on today?  Haven’t we learned yet?  Teaching rules and regulation cannot change the heart. 

Holiness is a heart matter.  You cannot teach a person to be Holy by teaching them rules, you must teach them that they were so special that Jesus was willing to die for them.  When they understand they are special, then the unholy things will begin to fall away.

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7 thoughts on “It’s a heart matter

  1. i agree. many people focus on the “sin” instead of what the sin takes away. Jesus said that all the law and the prophets hang on one thing…love. it is because you “love much” that you are willing to destroy and get rid of anything that gets in the way of love.

    that’s how God is…in the old testament, we would normally call it judgment…but in reality, it’s God getting rid of everything that hinders love.

    really good post!

  2. i think christiangowan raised a great question…a question i wish more people asked.

    christiangowan, i have found that if you lead them to Jesus…He’ll take care of all their issues. i would spend my time teaching them how to stay in the presence of God, how to pray, how to wait on God, how to read the Bible and how to pray quick 90 second prayers throughout the day.

    if they start experiencing God, holiness is a natural by-product (hmm…makes a good argument for why more people aren’t living holy lives). sadly, we don’t have many people teaching and “modeling” (best form of teaching…”follow me as i follow Christ”) how to do that.

  3. Every human being is created with a need for significance (Great Book – The Search for Significance – it has been around forever). What we label as “holiness” is really respect for God, ourselves and others.

    As be mature in our faith and trust in God we also begin to recognize that God gave us the law (the framework) to protect us not to limit us.

  4. As for “teaching” holiness…I am a teacher by nature so I believe almost anything can be taught. Holiness maybe one of those things that is better “caught” than “taught”. Teach people to hear the voice of God and read their Bibles the result will be holiness.

    There are two reasons, because each walk with God is an individual relationship, holiness will translate differently with different people. There are things I do not do because it has been something I struggled with in the past, that is not to say it is a sin for someone else. God must lead us into Holiness.

  5. The second reason…is the trap of legalism. Start teaching holiness as rules and you will the results will be judgementalism.

    When I was growing up, I had several friends who attended a very strict, legalistic church. Sure, their dresses were really long, but they were so tight you could see everything. How is that modest? There were so many rules about what they could and couldn’t do…can’t go to the movies, but half of them were having sex. It was craziness…sure they did all the “right” things publicly, but behind closed doors they really didn’t believe.

    I have friends who have attended church thier whole lives, but they don’t really believe in Jesus. It’s thier comfort zone, it’s their social outlet. The church is thier place of significance but they have never found their significance in Jesus; who He says they are.

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