Holiness in Spirit
Bible Reading: Galatians 5: 19-21, Ephesians 5:1-7
There is a well known verse that goes this way:
“Sow a thought, reap an act;
Sow an act, reap a habit;
Sow a habit; reap a character”
So one can conclude that our thought lives ultimately determine our character. According to Tyron Edward an American theologian (1809-1894), thoughts lead on to purpose, purpose leads on to actions, actions form habits, habits decide character and character fixes our destiny, so we can also say that our thought lives fixes our destiny.
According to King Solomon “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7a), so our inner life is what really controls the natural appetites of the flesh. Most of us try to fight the outward desires of the flesh without really understanding the connection between the inner life and the outward one. We must deal with our thoughts first before we can have victory in our outward life. Our main goal for this year is for us to pursue holiness with the help of the Spirit and one of the areas of our life that the Holy Spirit want to help change is the area of our thought life. The Holy Spirit made me realize that holiness begins in the mind and works out in my actions.
The Bible says in Philippians 4:8 that we should think about only things that are true, noble, pure, right, admirable, lovely and praise worthy and I have found myself using this verse as a guide in my conversations, relationships, things I do, where I go etc. I think about the motive behind what I do, the thoughts stimulated by what I see and where I go and make judgments. When I find the thoughts stimulated are not pure or right, I repent and find a way of retracing my steps back to where the Spirit wants me to be. It was not an easy thing to do in the beginning but I found that the more I persevered in doing this, the easier it was for me to do. My mind is getting used to asking me while watching a movie or listening to music, what kind of thoughts are being stimulated in me.
Sometimes even while having a conversation I would find myself asking if what we were saying was pure and praiseworthy? Immediately the answer is in the negative I would stop what I was doing, pray a prayer of forgiveness first and then a prayer of thanksgiving to thank God for allowing the Spirit work inside of me to transform me to become more like Him. I find myself more conscious of the sins we usually refer to as “acceptable sins”. I know some of you will not agree with me, but subconsciously most of us categorize sin into “unacceptable and acceptable sin”. We tend to focus best not to do them and neglect the “acceptable” ones (A good friend of mine call them “the little foxes”). These “little foxes” are the most dangerous sins. They are the sins that affect our thought life and invariably affect our destiny. We usually do not pay much attention to them because they are inward not outward. They are sins we can easily hide from other believers, pretending we are who we are not, forgetting that if left unchecked, these are the sins that form our character.
The devil does not want us to understand how important these types of sins are and so convinces us they do not matter because people cannot see them. He convinces us that the sins people can see are more important than the ones people cannot see and so we leave them unchecked until they grow deep enough in us to form our character. We forget that God judges us by these “little foxes”, because they define who we really are. In the book of Galatians chapter 5, Paul listed the acts of the sinful nature. Paul advises us to rely on the Spirit of God for strength if we find ourselves struggling with any of these sins. He did not say one is more acceptable than the other, or that we should concentrate our efforts more on one than the other, but he said that anyone living this sort of life will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The “unacceptable” sins by the devil’s definition are sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, sorcery, drunkenness, wild parties, etc and the “acceptable or little foxes” are quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, envy, self-ambition, division, unforgiving spirit etc, but by Paul’s definition as inspired by the Holy Spirit, all of them are totally unacceptable. Brethren, the enemy is out to kill, steal and destroy. All he wants to do is pervert God’s truth but when we obey Jesus’ commandment to remain in Him and allow His Word remain in us; the devil will not be able to lie to us about anything. We will know the truth and that truth will always put us one step ahead of the enemy in the mighty name of Jesus (Amen).
In our pursuit of holiness this year, let us concentrate all our efforts on our thought life and allow the Holy Spirit guide us into all truths in the name of Jesus.
By PASTOR TINU OLASHORE