Esther Kuku argues that, despite society’s values being at odds with God’s eternal laws, it’s important for Christians to still obey God’s laws and strive for holiness
I’ve witnessed the wreckage and heartache of undisciplined lives: Christians who believe that it is possible to be good without God, updating the Scriptures to fit a modern-day, more palatable belief system, only to find that this just doesn’t work.
I sat in a room full of mature Christians recently, talking about the phrase ‘shacking up’. I confidently declared that it was wrong for people to live together before they were married, only to find that I was the only one in the room who shared that view. The discussion was borne out of an episode of the hit US reality show, Preachers of LA. One of the well-known preachers on the show, Deitrick Haddon, was preparing to get married. Struggling with being apart from his future wife in the run-up to wedding, he made it quite clear that ‘shacking up’ wasn’t a problem for him. There was also Bishop Noel Jones, a senior church leader in the series, struggling to commit to a woman who had been a companion of his for sixteen years, citing his childhood as a reason for finding it hard to commit.
I found the whole series concerning. It really made me think: how are we supposed to be salt and light in the earth, if the world looks at our lifestyles and it is no different from theirs? It is fine to have issues and things we are dealing with, and to speak openly about them. But is a reality show the best place for us to take the masks off and air our dirty laundry? From the pulpit to the pew – the quiet erosion of holiness in the Church is leaving us without a better option to present to those in need of a Saviour.
The Bible tells us that we are the body of Christ, sent forth as His ambassadors (representatives). However, it seems as if many Christians believe that, because we are saved by grace, it means we don’t have to abide by biblical principles. You have people gossiping, being jealous of what other people have, and not waiting to get married before having sex, which is considered by some to be ‘old-fashioned’. They say that “It’s our heart that matters”, but God’s Word is straightforward. It says that whatever is in our hearts will determine our actions and words. We need to be clear; we are not to be legalistic, but we are called to righteous living. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:14, ‘Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no-one will see the Lord’, and in 1 Peter 1:15-16, we are reminded: “As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
So, how are we supposed to live holy lives? The book of James (1:21) talks about receiving with meekness the engrafted Word which, implanted in our hearts, contains the power to save our souls. Engraft comes from the word ‘engrave’, which means to carve, etch or cut in!
“From the pulpit to the pew – the quiet erosion of holiness in the Church is leaving us without a better option to present to those in need of a Saviour.”
I believe that God uses the analogy of engraft to show us how the Word is supposed to function in our lives. Engraft suggests something that takes time; it isn’t something that happens overnight.
I recently got married, and we had our wedding rings handmade. My husband and I went to the workshop and watched the lady shape our rings. When we first saw them, they were rugged pieces of dirty metal – it was fascinating – nothing like what they looked like on our wedding day! The jeweller carefully carved our names into the inside of the rings, rubbing and polishing them as she engraved each letter. There was a process.
If we want to be holy, we need to engraft 1 Peter 1:15-16 into our hearts, and be committed to the process. This means meditating on this verse until it produces the spiritual fruit of holiness in our hearts. Holiness isn’t for ‘special people’, who are ordained to a higher standard of living. If you are saved, then you are part of this chosen generation; you are royalty and a citizen of this holy nation. Let’s not compromise and make excuses.
We all go through issues, but we can’t keep blaming our childhood or bad parenting for where we are today. The Bible says, ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, all things have been made new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we come to Christ, we are like how our wedding rings started off: dirty pieces of metal. But, as we grow in Christ, He polishes us up, and we polish ourselves up as we spend time in the Word. Dirty living is not an option, and it becomes harder to excuse.
In this issue of Keep The Faith, we’re talking about love. Holy living demonstrates to the world that Christ is able to not only love us as we are, but that His love can also change us into His image, as we spend time with Him.
Esther Kuku is presenter of Premier Gospel’s Family Hour, which airs every Saturday from 11am-12pm