Highway to Holiness is dedicated to sharing encouraging stories and articles on topics that pertain to life and Godliness. It's about equipping people with the truth that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that gives us the ability to overcome life's challenges and temptations. God is real and Jesus is alive and there is a peace, joy and freedom in walking His way, through Him and for Him.
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Most Christians when expressing their failure to obey or their inadequacies toward righteousness, especially when confronted with a particular sin, often remark 'that's my weakness'. They're either not describing their situation accurately or are trying to express their inability to override a particular sin and how they succumb to areas of temptation frequently. If the latter is the case, the phrase is then seen as an approval or an allowance for disobedience and indeed is a false hope of comfort. The phrase 'that's my weakness' is a false diagnosis and is found short of the promises of God, leaving no room for growth or even change. Has the one who hides behind this phrase fully grasped the meaning of the passage, 'I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me'? (Philippians 4:13).
When one expresses 'that's my weakness' when it comes to Christian living, they're generally refering to an area of sin that still remains to be a struggle. Much like what kryptonite is to superman. They are strong, victorious and complete in all areas except one. Although they are sincere and genuinely devoted, they have a misconceived idea that they will always struggle with that particular sin - as though all other sins have been abolished and there remains now only one that needs dealing with. Is Christ's work partial or half complete? Has He failed us by only restoring the part not the whole? What does it actually mean when Christians say, 'that's my weakness...leave me alone...God is working with me?'
It's true, the Bible encourages the weak, but by what definition do we understand such-weakness? The scriptures consistently describe man's need for God, and often refers to human frailty and the existence of numerous infirmities in the flesh as the very reason we need Him. Not necessarily only salvation from sin, but the strength to be gained while passing through this world in this body. References are made about the weakness of man, related to the fall and all its ailments such as disease and sickness causing suffering and pain. We are encouraged to persevere while exhausted and drained, we drag about a dead body, prone to hunger, thirst and tiredness. However, we thank God for such weakness as it allows us to put our trust in Him. Hence why Paul says, "I would rather boast in my weakness." Is he stating that he will boast about his bondage to sin? Of course not. Does Paul want us to imagine him saying things like, "praise God I'm selfish but Jesus isn't, therefore I glory in Jesus?" Or do we imagine Paul suggesting, that he's a lustful man, and although he's lustful he praises God for it because it keeps him humble? This is far from the truth. Is he boasting regarding a matter pertaining to sin, or proud about a particular sin in his life? It cannot be, for he speaks to the sinning Corinthians, in this manner, "And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you" (1 Corinthians 5:2). Rather, his boasting is of a different spirit, where he says, "If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities" (2 Corinthians 11:30).
I thank God I lack in memory, I thank God I'm not fast at running or physically strong. I give glory to Jesus, I am not eloquent enough to persuade or convince. For in these weaknesses God makes His grace and power known. So I would rather boast in my weakness and reveal the awesome glory of God through such things. In this and only in this, is God glorified. When man is able to endure and surpass the infirmities of being human, and claim victory in nothing else but Christ alone, then he can truly glory in Jesus and the power of the cross in his own life.
There are many examples where God takes the weakness of a man, reveals His strength and glorifies Himself through him. Moses could not speak, yet became the voice of God and Gods people. Jeremiah was but a youth, yet became one of the greatest prophets among men. And so the world then can point to such men as these and say, there has to be a God, for there's no way that such a weak man can do such things!
The fundamental truth, 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak' was uttered by Christ in the garden of Gethsemane in season of wearisome, tiredness and sleeplessness. Yet, this was not reference toward sin or transgression, rather the precursor and admonition to be on guard. In fact, in the occasion of sin, the flesh is rather strong, not weak, and on the contrary, it is very much alive, displaying strength not weakness. The disciples on the other hand, were not necessarily sinning as much they were rather manifesting human frailty and the weakness of the body that grows tired and weary. And although their heart was to be with Christ, their bodies let them down. So we learn that, our body is weak and we need to submit our members to the Spirit that's always willing. For sin is at the door and temptation awaits us. But when we yield our weak bodies to the Spirit we are able to resist the evil one in that day of trial.
Sure, we may display various degrees of strength against diverse temptations, yet this is not to say we are weak in battle. One may be prone toward one particular area of sin over the other. One may feel the enticing power of one temptation greater and stronger than another, possibly due to environment, conditioning or particular upbringing. However, this is no means a reason to yield to such sin because it's your so called 'Achilles' heal'. Nor is it an excuse to fail, because it's drawing power is greater than other sins. Rather Paul says, where sin abounds grace much more. The power of God is able to deliver to the uttermost. The louder the temptation, the greater the power given. Still, some Christians seem to accept that there is still room for unconquered sin (commonly called weakness) in the believer. Yet, it's surprising how can it be, especially in the one who is called MORE than a conquerer.
Why Christians still struggle in sin and claim 'weakness' in a certain area like anger or impatience is simply because they have not given ALL of themselves over to Jesus, and in turn made ALL of Jesus their everything. Some may give up their smoking, their drinking, their wild living, yet still hold on to lust, pride or selfishness. Not all their members have been crucified. They offer their hands but not their feet. They offer their head but not their heart. The legend of Achilles' heal tells us that it was the exposed body part that was the most vulnerable and prone toward attack. We learn that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness (Romans 6:16). Can a Christian attempt to take on the full armour of God and yet still be found vulnerable to defeat. No, not unless they willingly expose themselves to sin and temptation.
Finally, let us prayerfully consider and meditate on the following scripture, (Joel 3:10) it does not say, "let the weak say I am weak" but rather "let the weak say I am STRONG!"
Many women are prone to suffer guilt. No wrong has been done, no kindness refused, nothing forgotten or neglected, but the feeling of guilt is there. It is a heartless driver. It will not allow a rest and will steal the joy in working hard by whispering 'but you haven't finished everything yet'. Guilt does not allow any satisfaction or peace. It only knows how to murmur and complain.
The woman who works to make a home, care for a family, to help and organise, to take on responsibilities, can become oppressed by guilt's nagging reminder that her work is never done. No sooner is one thing finished than another is ready to be done. Guilt whispers, 'you can't say no', so she does more and more and becomes trapped by too many commitments.
Martha was snowed under with chores the day Jesus came to visit her family. Mary sat at the feet of her Lord, breathing in His presence, hanging on His Words, while Martha begrudgingly worked alone in her kitchen to provide the expected hospitality.
Martha was blind. Focusing on carnal needs, she was unable to see the spiritual. She didn't notice the excited flush on Mary's cheeks as she listened to her Lord, the one in whom there was life and truth. Did Martha look into Jesus' eyes as she complained to him? Didn't she see the love of the Son of God as he gently opened the scriptures for her sister? What drove Martha to put mundane chores before Jesus? How could she walk past Eternity sitting in her house and choose instead to serve dinner?
Today, Martha was too busy to open her Bible. Exhausted from the day's work, she picked up some take-away on the way home and had an early night. Tomorrow's a big day in the office, so she needed her rest.
The Right Foundation
One day, I was sharing with a young Christian man a very simple yet significant truth found in Luke 14:26 that if any man comes to Jesus, and hates not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be a disciple of Jesus. In which he retorted, "Where is that in the Bible?" "In the gospel of Luke," I replied, which he then retaliated, "No way, that's not in the Bible!" I assured him it was and that it was also in the book of Matthew and Mark. I then asked him how long he had been a Christian. To my surprise, he replied that he'd been brought up all his life in a Christian family. This amazed me. I wondered how it is that one could grow up in a Christian church, live in a Christian home and yet fail to understand the clearly prescribed qualifications to following Jesus. It caused me to wonder if he truly knew the message of surrender, and the strong instructions regarding commitment as seen in the scriptures on following Christ. I questioned why he had failed to grasp the fundamental truth of sacrifice as the prerequisite to being a Christian.
Had he not familiarised himself with Christ's expectations and standard of commitment? Can anyone confidently commit to taking up a cross where the knowledge of its weight is disclosed? Yet most happily accept Christ's call to follow as though the cross is but a feather to be carried on a road paved by pillows. Only to realise, the way to Calvary is a road made up of whips and beatings under a cruel cross. Leading only then to a commitment that is either cut short or compromised. Can someone confidently dare to tread this road, believing it can be walked successfully while being half-hearted? One will not survive the journey of the crucified unless they are willing to die. One cannot possibly dodge the cross like an obstacle and hope to find the resurrection. Nor will anyone experience what eye has not seen nor live the impossible without a fervent and unwavering faith. Imagine for a moment the Israelites turning back, that split second just before the parting of the Red Sea, or on the seventh day giving up just at that last lap before the wall came crumbling down in Jericho. What faith would they have testified of, or miracle witnessed, at that crucial hour had they turned back. Faith rightly grounded, patiently endures through every season, to only bring forth fruit.
On many occasions, Jesus makes it clear on what a man must do to follow Him. Jesus makes sure that the people He encountered have a proper understanding of the kind of commitment He desired for the disciples, if they were to take up the life of a follower. He knew the significance of setting up the right foundation on which the future of true and genuine faith will be built. The reason why so many Christians reveal cracks in their faith has to do a lot with the fact that a right foundation has not been laid. A strong and firm foundation brings about a confident and certain faith.
Did you ever truly consider the cost and whether you had the endurance and a love steadfast enough to see your confession through? Why so many Christians backslide may be a result of never hearing or fully understanding the words of Jesus when He said, "Unless a seed dies it cannot bring forth fruit", or when He said, "Anyone who wants to come after me must take up their cross." Why so many come short of the finish line could be because they never considered what the apostle Paul really meant when he said, to run in such a way, that only one receives a prize (1Cor 9:24). Or what Jesus really meant when He said, "Anyone who comes to me must deny himself, and must lose their life to find life" (Matt 16:24-26). You cannot find a better picture of these words than Abraham offering Isaac, his only son, for a sacrifice (that which was most precious to him, more than his own life) as his act of obedience through faith. In contrast to the rich young ruler who walked away sad as a result of disobedience when asked to sell everything (Mark 10:17-27).
Sometimes when a person desires your acceptance to an invitation, they dress up the occasion to appeal to your tastes in order to influence your decision. Although this may be the case with many evangelists and churches today regarding the presentation of the gospel and the souls of men, this was definitely not the case with Jesus. Jesus never lured anyone into a false impression, through the use of enticing and passionate words, begging at a confession. Often, misleading words have an ability to manipulate or lead to an uninformed or misguided decision. Only to reveal in time, a weak foundation supporting a frail faith that's ready to collapse. The significance of this truth is throughout the New Testament. Jesus likens it as a man building a house on sand.
Most Christians faith is built on the foundation of the initial experience of becoming a Christian, which most would testify felt more like walking on clouds and being in heaven. Somewhat like a honeymoon without the years and challenges of marriage. Yet after every honeymoon is the manifestation of those vows and that binding confession. So it is with faith, the real walk is from clouds to the hill of Calvary. So many drag their feet at the first sight of rain to cry, "I never asked for this." And when the sun doesn't come up and lightning strikes, people begin to crumble at the sight of the trial and hardship ahead. How many confidently take large big steps forward, for after all they knew this is what they signed up for?
It's unfortunate that today's salvation message is more of a 'welcome' rather than a 'command'. This is not to say that the good news of eternal life should not be welcoming - the problem is it's not just that...it's just as much the command to obey and heed. You must be saved! It's a welcome to forgiveness and mercy, but also a command to repent and turn from sin. The confession to walk in His steps is the commitment to walk as He walked and live as He lived.
Look at His Life. Did He love His mother more than God? Did He love his brethren more than God? Did He love Himself more than God? Watch carefully where His feet took him, and then ask yourself: "Is that where I really want to go?
Mary and Martha were two sisters who knew and loved their friend and teacher, Jesus. They lived with their brother Lazarus, who also loved the Lord dearly, in Bethany near Jerusalem. Jesus came to visit them one time and Martha quickly started preparing food for Him:
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village:and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus 'feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful:and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Jesus said that the love of His Word is what is needful, it is the good part. He said Mary had chosen that good part and - oh what sweet words - 'it shall not be taken away' from her. This is a beautiful promise.
Jesus defended Mary's devotion to His Word. He would not allow Martha to rob her of the prize. Jesus understood the Jewish cultural and social requirement to offer hospitality which was causing Martha's anxiety and keeping her away from Him. And He knew her heart. It was unthinkable to Martha that her guest and special friend Jesus should not be fed with the best of her dishes. Her womanly role was to be a hostess, providing bountiful food and warm hospitality. Martha believed she couldn't afford the time or luxury to sit and listen because there was just too much to do. When she needed help, Martha pointed at her sister. Frustration with Mary for not helping was a natural response when she was trying with all her own might and talents to give a worthy offering of works to the Saviour. Wasn't she right to expect some help from her sister? Wasn't it reasonable to point this out in order to provoke her sister to help? Martha expected that Jesus would support her reasonable complaint. She thought that her urgent need for Mary's hands should be obvious. In her stress Martha even assumed that Jesus must be unaware of her need and had not noticed her sister's neglect.
Jesus did understand Martha's drive to be busy but He praised Mary's choice to focus on Him. Jesus sorrowfully admonished Martha for choosing to worry about the things of this world instead of drawing close to Him.
Oh, Martha, we may understand how she feels but may we never make the same mistake. May we never miss the opportunity to be in His Holy presence like she did. May Jesus find reason to defend us for always being preoccupied with His word. May He always find us worthy to wear a crown of devotion to Him. May Jesus give us the same precious promise as He gave to Mary - it will not be taken away from us.
Ruth: A Woman of Faith
'No-one knows what tomorrow holds' is a fatalistic saying which assumes that something random is in control of the future. It sounds true because often our experience leads us to believe that 'life' throws up the unexpected. Ruth didn't know what her future held when her husband died and her mother-in-law decided to pack up and go back home to Israel. She hadn't expected events to turn out so badly and she had no guarantee of safety or security for the future.
Ruth responded to the crisis in her life by clinging to the one whose life was a demonstration of God's wisdom and strength, her mother-in-law, Naomi. What an unusual affection! There was no hint of animosity, jealousy, insecurity or mistrust between this daughter-in-law and mother-in-law. Instead, we read about a devotion so powerful that no worldly wisdom could defeat it. Even though it made sense to go home to her own mother with her gods, even though it offered more prospects to return to her own people, yet Ruth chose to cling to Naomi and her God. She trusted that her place was to be with Naomi in the presence of her God. She turned her back on the world and its gods and turned her face toward the one true God.
If the ship sinks what do you cling to? How do you make your way safely to the shore? Single mothers, divorced or single women, abused women, you who are old, lonely or neglected by family and friends, embrace the example of Ruth, our mother in the faith! Have faith that God is your provision. He is your provider, your ever present help in trouble. Cleave to the one who has given His all for you, and will walk with you into your future.
Tomorrow is not a mystery to our Heavenly Father. Like Ruth, we can trust that in Him our future is secure. Our God has a perfect plan so, for the Christian, life is not random. Jesus commanded: "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on" Matthew 6:25. Can we be obedient to this? This was the spirit of Ruth when she abandoned her life to follow her good mother-in-law, Naomi.
Let's sing with joy: "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back, I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back no turning back."
Oh Foolish Theologian
Below is a very unique article titled, "Oh Foolish Theologian". I thought it would make a good post to engage discussion. It paints a sobering but interesting picture of the difference between a head and heart knowledge of God.
Oh foolish theologian…dare I say, you know not what you aught? Have you considered there are thousands like you everywhere? Men of authority, of great intelligence and knowledge. Renowned men like you, brilliant in analytical skills and persuasive in arguments. Who defend the Law of God with mastery of the English language, yet eloquent in speech, they guard their pride and nourish the false assumptions they have of others, tearing at their conscience and spirit.
And yet you men of equal caliber argue one with another across many denominations and doctrines. Oh theologians…what makes any of you think you are better than the other, or somehow you have attained the truer knowledge? Does God favor you more so?
How did you judge in yourself that you’re right and they are wrong? What measurement did you use to conclude all men are heretics and your path is light? Was it through some deductive process of the word of God, or some closer examination or study of the text? Or is it simply some historical or cultural context that unveiled the passage aided by your brilliant research skills? Is this your definition of 'revelation'? Here you say, “God shed light on the scriptures' or even so boldly as to say 'God spoke to you!'
How have you walked so far from the essence of Christian life and the power of holiness? You think God weighs the minds and examines your knowledge? You think he judges you based on how correct your theology was or is? Is Christian life some exam of one mans intelligence against another, or one is saved through some attainment of higher knowledge? Could it be that unless one is educated and well versed in the things of God, he has no fellowship with God?
How is it you applaud men of great intellect but ignore the broken in spirit? Deceiving yourself in thinking, it’s what you know, not what you live. Rather isn't this what separates men apart, ‘the hearers and the doers’? Not the belief in certain doctrines but rather the experiential faith in the working power of the cross. For the devil himself believes all the truths of the nature of God and the things pertaining to his kingdom along with all your theology, yet he has a soul that is unrepentant and cares nothing for the things of God.
If a man walks humbly and peacefully with his God, loving his enemy, overcoming sin, gaining victory over every trial and temptation and has mastered the way of His master, do you dare to judge his theology? Don't you know no man can come to the life of Jesus unless the Father draws him through the power of the Holy Spirit? Surely you cannot deny the testimony and work of a Living Faith leading men to the knowledge of Christ through obedience. Is this is not the work of God poured out upon those who care for nothing more than to be like Jesus?
It is the Living Word manifested in its power and glory, that no interpretation of scripture could reveal but only through love and a fear of God. It's not handed down by some institution or creed but given by God Himself, to them that have a perfect love for Him. Is this not why the scriptures tell us, “…you need no man to teach you”? Remember, it is the fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom and God reveals his mysteries to them that fear Him. Knowing well, knowledge produces pride and pride keeps one from the kingdom, we dare not to judge a Christian by theology, but by the fruit of righteousness and like Paul, we strive not having our own righteousness but the righteous which comes only through Christ, not a textbook.
Isn’t this what the Father has desired, that we are to come to the Son? Not to define him, analyse Him, dissect Him, admire him, or even applaud Him but rather to receive Him and know the power of His resurrection. For it is not sufficient to know about Him and His history but rather to know Him and His life today. And only through the living of the Living Word, by ‘turning the other cheeck…going the extra mile’, is to really know Him and experience Him now in this life.
To live Jesus is greater than all the knowledge of scripture and heavy laboured sermons. Live Him first and then confirm for yourself and for the safety of your soul, what you hold to be true is of God. It’s not perfect conduct or well-to-do manners He desires but a pure heart and an inner working of a Divine Love. A love for God and your enemies.
You question ‘perfection’ and the full working power of the Holy Spirit in the believer, yet you strive to perfect every other thing pertaining to the flesh, only that you may heap glory upon glory and strengthen your pride. Do you question it because it's hard to believe? Is it not aligned with the very nature and character of faith, evidenced in the stories and events, which we read and in which we are called to believe? All things are possible to them that believe.
The truth is no man can master the knowledge of God unless he lives Him. No one knows his Father unless he has the Spirit of the Son. A complete obedience to the Father's will. The complete surrender to the Father's way. A full and unwavering submission to the Father's word. Obedience to God, that can only come through Christ and in Christ and because of Christ. His endurance against temptation. His patience through trials and hardships. His love toward the vilest and worst of sinners. All these are only known and understood by those who choose to do the same. No knowledge is greater than this. It is not only in understanding but also in being conformed to His sufferings, in their own fight…against their own sin…in their own heart and in their own life. Only then does all the theology in Christendom fade to this..." I claim to know no other thing than Christ and Him crucified".
The Church in Need
Dear Reader, there is no greater joy than when God reveals Himself to His people. Having stumbled across our site, we pray you find it a well of refreshment. We hope you find yourself at home among the articles that you read and are encouraged to keep browsing. We pray as you read, that you discover there is so much in God’s word yet to be revealed.
We do not claim to have more or know greater than our readers. We also do not set ourselves up as being better than other Christians or churches. If anyone thinks we make ourselves better than the rest because we hold this most sacred truth of holiness close to our chest, they are mistaken. We are most wretched and the chief of sinners and are very poor creatures indeed. Yet, in the spirit of JC Ryle who wrote the book ‘Holiness’ we say as he said, 'We cannot read the Bible without desiring to see many believers… more spiritual, more holy, more single-eyed, more heavenly-minded, more whole-hearted, than they are in the 21st century. We want to see among believers…more of a pilgrim spirit, a more decided separation from the world, a conversation more evidently in Heaven, a closer walk with God — and therefore we write as we do…'
We do confess that the church is in need of a greater holiness, beginning with us. We have strayed too far from the truth. The church of God is swayed too easily by doctrines that weaken the fight against sin and in turn find themselves empty, lacking the joy and peace that is so easily and readily accessible. Only when we find ourselves under no bondage of sin, and only then, are we at peace and experiencing fullness of joy.
Why so many choose to confess to be followers of Christ and do not walk as He walked, live as He lived and speak as He spoke is baffling.
Why do you give up so much to walk so little? Why do you make a profession of faith and hardly make it a possession? Why not go your way and free yourself from the torment and guilt of not following a God you have no desire to serve. Yet, you continue to carry a name that you live so little for.
Our desire is that we all come into submission, and obey once and for all the Lord of Lords and find true freedom in the power of the cross.
Be strong and courageous, and may the Lord make His face to shine upon you.