By Jean Stockdale
We live in a culture that is becoming increasingly hostile toward the Lord and His followers. Sadly, such antagonism, in many cases, is fostering greater tolerance by God’s people in areas that violate God’s holy standards in order to avoid conflict. Beloved, the Bible is very clear: God is holy. God is holy and He requires holiness from His people. Peter writes,
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
– 1 Peter 1:14-16 –
The concept of pursuing ever-increasing personal holiness and practical righteousness is an ongoing theme in God’s Word. The process, put into play at the moment we surrender to Jesus, is called sanctification. Through sanctification, we are progressively changed more and more into the likeness of Christ, as we grow “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Our spiritual growth can be likened to the physical development of a baby. Each faltering step of childhood development, wildly celebrated by the parents, lays the foundation for further growth and advancement, although the potential for regression is ever-present. Similarly, we remain in this refining process until we see the Lord face-to-face, when we will be immediately changed into His likeness. This is referred to as glorification.
Beloved, now we are children, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
– 1 John 3:2-3 –
Purify yourself. Pursue practical holiness.
Purify yourself. Pursue practical holiness.
The process of sanctification is greatly aided when we regularly read and study God’s Word. Intake of Scripture washes away the residue of the world’s ideology and/or Satan’s tempting thoughts and replaces them with TRUTH. As we walk in obedience to God’s revelation through His Word, we are empowered by His Spirit and personal holiness is the result, manifesting “through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Mothering your children in this context will leave an indelible imprint of the person and power of Jesus Christ on their hearts. Pursue practical holiness.
Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in the mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual does, this man will be blessed in what he does.
– James 1:22-25 –
James instructs his readers to become doers of the Word and not merely hearers who delude themselves. The hearer of the Word exhibits a superficial faith. He is like the man who looks at his natural face in a mirror but quickly forgets what he has seen and fails to correct the flaws the mirror reveals. The doer of the word demonstrates a supernatural faith, being “one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer. This man (this woman, this mom) shall be blessed in what he (she) does” (James 1:25). A changed heart (should) will naturally produce a changed life. The key ingredient to a changed life and a supernatural faith (beyond the actual conversion experience) is careful attention to the Word of God.
Serval years ago, I was getting ready to go and teach the MOMS Bible study. I had gotten completely dressed inside my closet, which housed everything I needed to get ready except a mirror. As I stepped outside my closet I was startled by my husband, who had come in to pray for me before I left to teach. The look on his face revealed something was wrong with my appearance. He tilted his head and said, “Unless you’re mighty proud of this label I think you’re gonna want to change your sweater.” Confused, I stepped around him and looked in the mirror. To my horror I had my sweater on inside out and backwards! The label was prominently displayed under my chin! What was he saying to me? Take a good, long look in the mirror, see what adjustments need to be made and fix it!
Moms, devote yourself to pursuing personal holiness and practical righteousness. More of what your children learn about the Lord is caught rather than what is taught. Show them Jesus!
Jean Stockdale is a wife, mom, grandmother, Christian author, Bible teacher, and disciple-maker. Her ministry, Standing Near the Cross, Inc. allows her to fulfill her vision by passionately encouraging and impacting families through discipleship and the study of God’s Word. The Lord has gifted Jean with a winsome combination of humor, profound spiritual insights, practical life lessons, and the ability to communicate scriptural truths with personal illustrations. She writes and speaks with a passion that comes from her devotional love for the Lord Jesus and others are blessed out of the overflow. She is being widely used of the Lord in motivating and challenging women of all ages and stages of life to be students of the Word and to live out in everyday life the reality of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.