Flirting With the Fine Line of Sin: Restoring Holiness in an Age of Rebellion

   

I am guilty…I am so guilty. I am guilty of sometimes doing exactly what I know God doesn’t want me to do. I don’t mean in a birthed-out-of-confusion or deception way—I mean, a true and genuine rebellious spirit. A spirit that looks pleasure dead in the eye and says yes. Even in the midst of conviction, my rebellion finds a way to settle with lame and gross excuses…

A few months ago I really started to question some things. If I am a Christian called by the grace of God, and powered by His Spirit then why doesn’t my life reflect that nature? Why doesn’t my life look like the lives of the Christians in the early church found in Acts? After all, we are under the new and same covenant. Why isn’t my church exploding the way it did when people heard the gospel preached by Peter. Why aren’t people around me being delivered, set free, and healed from all kinds of physical, emotional and mental illnesses? I began to ask myself and God where this power was that was promised to us as Christians—the power of Heaven to which we supposedly have access. I was confused and honestly began to think that maybe this sort of thing wasn’t meant for us in that way or that maybe this was some sort of cosmic hyperbole that has just been misunderstood.

I couldn’t have been more incorrect…

About 5 weeks ago I was approached by two friends who had heard of a Bible study that was starting that week at a local church. They preceded to insist that we all do this study together. They had heard great things about this “intense” course designed to motivate the complacent Christian. I wasn’t at all apposed to this 5 week journey seeing as though my friend was a new Christian and I wanted to support and encourage him in this process. However, I was slightly uncomfortable being in a new church. I showed up at the church that Tuesday slightly skeptical, very guarded, and full of opinions. As the pastor got up and begin to explain the course of the next 5 weeks, there wasn’t anything with which I disagreed. It sounded like something from which I could possibly learn. I didn’t expect what came next.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

The pastor stated that if we wanted to graduate this course that we were going to have to live fully pure lives over the next five weeks. He began to give the criteria for holy lives. Before me was a list of legalistic restrictions. Typical churchy freedom restraining “don’ts.”

Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t listen to secular music. Don’t watch secular TV or movies. Don’t curse. And on and on. I was outraged! My blood was boiling!!! “How dare they cross the line and call things sin that are not black and white in the Word?!” I said to myself. I was appalled. Everything inside of me was upside down. I was ready to walk right out and never come back. The one and only reason I stayed was because I promised and had given my word to my newly saved friend I would finish the course.

I am so glad that I did…

Over the last five weeks God literally grabbed ahold of my heart in a totally new way. As I continued to ask God for revelation, He poured out His Spirit in the most loving and intimate way. He began to speak to my soul and soften the parts of my heart that were cold and alone.

I believe that this whole Journey was to teach me one thing for our lives and for the Church. God desires our lives to be devoted to holiness. Complete holiness.

I started to recognize that the reason my spirit was flaring up with anger at the thought of rules was because my sinful nature was ruling my life and I was in rebellion to God. The last thing I wanted was to look at the small sins in my life that seem to go by unnoticed. The fact that the thought of giving them up was painful showed that I was a slave to them.

Just because I’m not living a lifestyle of sin doesn’t mean Im not still living a lifestyle of rebellion.

“Hidden sin is the Achilles heel of the church in this hour. It has kept us from purity that breeds boldness and great faith. Repentance means you change your way of thinking. it’s only in changing the way we think that we discover the focus of Jesus’ ministry- the KINGDOM”– Bill Johnson

I wonder how different our lives would look if we sold out to complete holiness. Even greater, what would our ministries look like? Would we actually see God’s glory?

We will only receive as much power as we have intimacy.

If our lives are not in total surrender, than God is not going to render us qualified for his blessings on our work. The disciples and the early church gave their whole-selves to the the Word and the God they believed in. That is why they walked in the favor of the Lord.

I am guilty of flirting with the boundaries of my sinful nature. I’m guilty of a love affair with the ways of the world. I say NO MORE! Repent and put on the new spirit God has given us. “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer” 2 Timothy 2:4 We are in Battle…Sound the war drum…Rise Up!!!

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  • Anonymous

    It’s great growing closer to god and making radical life changes. It’s also great to do that stuff with people you’re close friends with. It brings us all closer together.
    But I don’t think that means you have to necessarily not smoke, drink, or listen to “secular” music. It all depends on who your friends are (and what they value).
    Let’s remember: Love is the answer.

    And if you’re interested, check out this song by singer/songwriter Dar Williams, “The Christians and the Pagans.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_KiHRHwaAs

  • Andrew Roman

    I agree. We cant live life in the half line. We have to be on one side or another. God is holy and calls us to holiness therefore, if we hold on to those little sins, God cannot fully manifest himself in our lives. Thanks Ms. Martinez.

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