Holiness is something every believer strives for. We desire to live a life pleasing to God. We desire to conduct our lives in a way that effects change to the people around us, and we understand that can only happen through holy living.
But sometimes I think we go about it the wrong way. In this article, I am going to be covering how we can live a holy life, and how we can avoid some of the traps we fall victim to. Let’s get started.
Not By Works
When you and I got saved, we knew we had no ability to earn salvation, so by faith we put our complete trust in the Lord Jesus. But then after we got saved, many of us make the mistake to then think we can somehow do this on our own. That we can live righteously by ourselves.
We may not say that out loud, but our actions, and the fruit surrounding our lives, prove it.
For example, let’s say you’ve been a Christian for a while, and you’re seeking God, and all of a sudden something bad happens, you stumble in an area, you make a mistake. What a lot of Christians will do, is they start trying harder: they start praying more, reading the Bible more, fasting, etc.
Now, all those things are good, but not when it becomes a work. You see, the Bible says, “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). The good works are the fruit of repentance, not the root. In other words, God is the one does the work, not you.
Let me show you some scriptures so you can see what I’m saying more clearly.
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Phillipians 2:12-13).
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
“To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” (Colossians 1:29).
“That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.“ (Romans 8:4).
There are many other scriptures, but I think you got my point. It is God who sanctifies us, by His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). We can’t sanctify ourselves, any more than we can save ourselves. The only thing we must learn to do then, is be yielded to Him. Or as the apostle Paul put it, walk in the Spirit.
The Only Way To Holiness
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:16,22-23).
Notice how the scripture above tells us to walk in the Spirit, and that if we do, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. That is amazing!
Every sin we have ever committed is rooted in walking in the flesh and not the Spirit. If you are discouraged, depressed, bitter, angry, lustful, or any other fleshly sin, it because of one reason: you are walking according to the flesh.
This is what the apostle Paul meant when he said, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:7-8).
Now, obviously this verse is primarily talking about when Jesus returns in the Second Coming, because he says “will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” But it can also be interpreted in connection with our life here and now. If we sow to the flesh, we are going to produce the works of the flesh, but if we sow to the Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit.
The apostle Paul isn’t the only one who mentioned this truth, it is mentioned all over the New Testament. It isn’t always called “walking in the Spirit”, but the meaning is the same.
Jesus told us to abide in Him, so we could bear much fruit (John 15:4-5). Peter said to grow in the Knowledge of God because “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3). John use the same language as Jesus, and told us to abide in Him so we can walk as Christ walked on this earth (1 John 2:6).
So, whether you want to call it walking in the Spirit, Abiding in God, or growing in the knowledge of God, it’s all the same thing, and it produces the same result: fruit that lasts.
Walk In The Spirit
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.“ (Romans 8:3-5).
This verse describes simply how we can walk in the Spirit. It says the same way we set our minds on the things of the flesh when we lived in sin, we are now to set our minds on the things of the Spirit.
You see, before you got born again, you had the nature of sin residing on the inside of you, this is what the Bible calls spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1). But when you accepted Christ that nature was replaced with God’s nature, that is why salvation is called being born again.
However, the only way to access God’s nature is through the renewal of the mind, which is essentially walking in the Spirt. This is why Paul exhorts believers to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23-24).
Before salvation, you would give into the fleshly desire inside of you, which caused you to sin (Ephesians 2:3), but after salvation you now have a new desire inside of you, called the “new man”, that you must learn to put on, through living by God’s Spirit.
Now, you may be thinking, “If this is true, that I have God’s nature on the inside of me, then why do I still have the desire for sin at times?”
Excellent question. In short, because we’ve been trained our whole lives to live by the flesh. It isn’t so much that we still have the nature of sin on the inside of us, but rather our minds have been programed to think according to the flesh.
So, we must learn to reprogram our minds, and this can only happen as long as we live in fellowship with God. If you want to learn some practical steps about how to do this, check out my two articles: How to Walk in the Spirit and 3 Simple Tips on How to Renew Your Mind.