/ / / 5 Ways to Pursue Holiness in a World that Minimizes Sin {Leviticus 11-15}

5 Ways to Pursue Holiness in a World that Minimizes Sin {Leviticus 11-15}

God's Word demands that we be holy, because God is holy and we are His children. Here are 5 ways to pursue holiness in a world that minimizes sin. #Biblestudy #Leviticus #WomensBibleStudy #GoodMorningGirls

Last Friday, we discussed 5 Ways to Exalt God as Holy in a Culture that Treats God Casually.

Today we want to look at 5 Ways to Pursue Holiness in a World that Minimizes Sin.

God says in Leviticus 11:44:

“For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.”

Then in the New Testament  – Leviticus is quoted in 1 Peter 1:16:

 “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

The command to be holy is a command not just for the Israelites in Leviticus but for us today.

What does it mean to live a holy life?

Jerry Bridges writes in The Pursuit of Holiness:

“To live a holy life is to live a life in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible and in contrast to the sinful ways of the world.

It is to live a life characterized by the putting off of your old self…and putting on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph.4).”

In Leviticus 11-15, we see the concept of being clean and unclean in God’s eyes repeated over and over.  The Israelites could not come into God’s holy presence without first being cleansed.

The purpose of the laws set forth in Leviticus 11-15 were for their protection and also for setting God’s people apart from other nations.  

We are no longer under the Levitical law…but we have been called to holiness or to be set apart from the world around us.

What does holiness look like in a believer’s life?

In Mark 7:18-23,  Jesus says:

Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (esv)

Jesus clarifies that it is not what we have eaten or touched that makes us unclean…but the real question is:

What is in your heart?

Jesus gives a list of sins that make us unclean.  As you read this list – consider – which of these sins do you need cleansed from?

1.) Evil Thoughts

2.) Sexual Immorality

3.) Theft

4) Murder

5.) Adultery

6.) Coveting

7.) Wickedness

8.) Deceit

9.) Sensuality

10.) Envy

11.) Slander

12.) Pride

13.) Foolishness

This list is not complete…anger is not listed but I know it is a sin (James 1:20).

Just today while homeschooling one of my children, I got very frustrated and raised my voice in anger.  Then I went on a long crazy rant {face palm}…and when I finished,  I felt better for the moment.  I mean, I was right and the child was wrong, and now they clearly knew it.

But 5 minutes later, the guilt came.  I had lost my temper.  The child had ran off to another room and when I went to find them – out the child came with a homemade necklace for me, with a heart attached.

So sweet.

And then – Oh the conviction. I did not deserve that little necklace.  I had failed.  I apologized for losing my temper and the child apologized as well and there before us was the reality of our sin.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

We all go astray.

We all sin.

But Jesus…

Jesus was the final sacrifice.  He laid down His life for our sins and his blood covers them all and makes us clean.

And while we are declared as holy (1 Peter 2:9) we must make every effort to be holy (Hebrews 12:14) but never act “holier than thou” –remembering that we all go astray.  We all sin.  But when we fall down, we must get up again and keep pursuing holiness.

Here’s 5 Ways to Pursue Holiness in a World that Minimizes Sin 

1.) Take our sin seriously and call sin – sin.

2.) Confess our sin to God and to others.

3.) Strive to do what is right in God’s eyes and obey His word.

4.) Say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions.

5.) Pursue holiness over happiness.

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”
~Titus 2:11 & 12

Striving for holiness is not popular.

The world  tells us to follow the crowd.

The world minimizes sin.

The world mocks those who pursue purity and flaunts their sexuality.

The world calls evil – good and good – evil.

We must not follow the ways of the world.

We are God’s children.  We have been set apart for God’s glory.  Let’s give ourselves completely to God.  Lay down our old ways of living today and walk in holiness.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**Chime In**

Are you pursuing holiness?  In what ways?

Who is an example of holiness to you?  What sets them apart from the world?

15 Comments

  1. Courtney, I am trying to seek God and His Word in my mid twenties. I absolutely love your blog and appreciate your studies. However, I struggle with why Jesus released us from Levitcal law, but not things such as being homosexual. Is that a moral or mosaic law? I want to follow God’s law but I don’t understand why this couldn’t be forgiven? I get that sexual immorality is a sin but if two people are in a loving, homosexual and long term relationship is that okay? I am a straight , married woman but I have friends and co- workers who are homosexual but good people, and I’d hate to think that god would punish them and see that as a larger sin. What if they can’t help it and they say they were born that way? I struggle with binge eating and I know it’s a sin, but it wouldn’t make me feel wretched if I worked on overcoming this. I feel like trying to deny who you can and can’t love through fear of punishment and damnation would lead to depression and mental health issues. Aren’t we fearfully and wonderfully made?

    I’m
    Not trying to be contrary, I’d just really like to understand more. I’d really appreciate some thoughts from a Titus woman!

    Thank- you for your ministry 🙂

    1. Hi Emmy,

      This is a good question. Everything I have written in this post applies to any and all sins we commit – all sin is unholiness. So I want to take you back through the points to show you how to apply it to the sin in our lives.

      Jesus died on the cross for our sins. If we confess our sins – he is faithful to forgive them (1 John 1:9).

      As I said in the post above, we all sin. We all go astray. But as we pursue holiness we must allow God and his word to define sin – not our feelings or this world.

      We must call sin – sin. We must call evil – evil and good – good. I think the 5 points I made above really speak to your question. Let’s look at them again and apply them to this scenario:

      Here’s 5 Ways to Pursue Holiness in a World that Minimizes Sin

      1.) Take our sin seriously and call sin – sin.

      If we were struggling with anger – I’d look up verses on anger, if we were struggling with gossip, I’d look up verses on gossip – so to answer your question we have to ask: What does the Bible have to say about being homosexual? Leviticus is not the only place that this practice is spoken of. It is also spoken of as sin in I Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28, 1 Timothy 1:10, Jude 1:7, and Genesis 19.

      2.) Confess our sin to God and to others.

      Once we allow God’s word to define sin – we call sin sin and confess the sins we have committed to God.

      3.) Strive to do what is right in God’s eyes and obey His word.

      Once we allow God’s word to define sin and we call sin, sin and we confess our sins then we do a 180 and begin doing what is right in God’s eyes and obey His word.

      4.) Say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions.

      One we allow God’s word to define sin and we call sin, sin and we confess our sins and do a 180 and begin doing what is right in God’s eyes – we will be tempted to do wrong. Those who are pursuing holiness – will say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions when we are tempted.

      5.) Pursue holiness over happiness.

      Once we allow God’s word to define sin and call sin, sin and we confess our sins and do a 180 and are tempted and say no…we will find that it’s very hard. Perhaps we are unhappy because everyone else seems free to sin – but we are not. We are constrained by the Holy Spirit to do what is right. But we must remember – we are pursuing holiness not happiness. The world – only pursues their own happiness which means they follow their lusts. A child of God must say no to the flesh.

      We are God’s children. We have been set apart for God’s glory. We must give ourselves completely to God. Lay down our old ways of living today and walk in holiness.

      “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”
      ~Titus 2:11 & 12

      I hope this brings clarity to your question.

      Lots of Love,
      Courtney

      1. Beautifully said, Courtney… That did not come from you, but it was God talking thru you for all that really want to hear the Truth and be freed by it… Wisdom talking… 🙂

      2. I really appreciate your stance on calling sin sin. I think it’s important to recognize that Jesus specifically said He did not come to do away with the (Levitical) law and that it wouldn’t pass away until Heaven and Earth pass away. So when we start picking and choosing which commands we obey and which ones we are “freed from” we’re engaging in the wrong conversation. We’re freed from sin, not to sin. The Bible says sin is the transgression of the Law.
        Sure, there are some Laws in Leviticus that we can’t keep because we aren’t in the physical land of Israel, or because they apply specifically to priests, or only to men. But the rest do apply to us in some way, and acknowledging this eliminates a lot of confusion about which ones are for today and which aren’t.
        Thanks for this important look at God’s love and mercy revealed in His Law!

  2. Hi Courtney,
    This is regarding your previous video on “Hoe to live your priorities.”

    I really like your idea for the “priority diagram.”You gave great examples of what you put under each circle, except for husband. I am just wondering what kind of priorities you list under husband – I guess I am looking for inspiration.

    Thank you for all that you do and for setting such a good example for a Godly path.

    Lorelai

    1. Hi Lorelai,

      Some of the things I have written in the husband circle are:

      Listening to him, praying for him, helping/serving him, laundry/food, making love, enjoying him 😉

      Thank you for the encouragement!
      Courtney

  3. I love “pursue holiness over happiness”. That is powerful. Thank you for this post and challenge to set ourselves apart. We are called to be holy and this was a great wake up call!

  4. Courtney, this is a great devotion. You have a way of making one of the hardest books in the bible come to life and of helping me find the meaning of it. I would love to be able to click on a “PRINT” button and be able to print this but I don’t see that option. Any way that you could add that option to your blogs??

    1. Hi Savonna,

      A “print” button is available at the very end of the post – right before the comment section. You should see in red where it says “Sharing is Caring!” and then there is a Facebook and Twitter symbol. At the far right there is a green square – to the left of the green square is another green square that when you click it – it makes the blog post printable. If for some reason the printer button is not there – just click the far right green square and the option to print will pop up.

      Hope you can find it!
      Love,
      Courtney

  5. I am so encouraged by your devotional today, Courtney. I was listening to Joyce Meyer just yesterday and she said (I’m paraphrasing), “What God calls sin and what the world calls sin is two very different things. We need to make sure we are able to tell the two apart because they are VERY different.” This really spoke to me….and then to see you talking about the same thing….it’s just amazing (Divine Intervention!!!). The world tries to trick us into thinking that certain things are “okay” to do just because the world says so. But there is always that little voice (GOD!) that tells you that what you are doing is not okay. We have to learn to listen to that voice and follow what it is saying. Doing the right thing is not always the popular choice…or the easiest! But our reward for doing right is not down here, it is waiting for us in Heaven. Praise GOD!!!

  6. Hi Courtney,

    Thank you very much for always taking the time to respond to individual posts/queries; you are truly a special person.

    Cheers!

    Lorelai

  7. This post made me think of my grandmother because when I think of striving for holiness it reminds me of how my grandmother always ties everything back to her faith. It could be making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but she would find a way to tie it in to God’s Word and teach us a lesson on faith. But overall my favorite part of this was number one. Just call sin-sin! I think too often we “sugarcoat” so that we don’t feel as guilty (myself included)! It’s good to be aware of this to try to strive to recognize sin, ask forgiveness, and strive not to repeat these actions!

  8. When did God change? Scripture tells us that He is an unchanging God. Jesus is God. If God said that certain things were unclean and that we are not to eat them, then if He suddenly decided to change that, He becomes a changing God. He never changed. Humanity has tried to change Him though. They want Him to fit into their way of thinking, instead of us fitting into His way of thinking. You yourself said, “The purpose of the laws set forth in Leviticus 11-15 were for their protection and also for setting God’s people apart from other nations.” They are for OUR protection and to set US apart. God knew what He was doing. He cares about our well-being, our health. Look at what these animals, birds, fish, insects, etc. eat and you will understand why these are not healthy for us. Scripture does not say that after Jesus died, suddenly all the animals were made clean. In Matthew 5:18, Jesus Himself says, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Nothing has changed about the “law” (Torah actually means ‘instruction’ NOT ‘law’). Believers have had to listen to pagans trying to convince them that it is okay to eat anything and that we don’t have to keep God’s commandments from the beginning. I am sure that back then, just as today, there were many believers who were more concerned with telling God what to do rather than doing what God said. Of course Jesus said that what went in didn’t make them unclean – they would have been eating kosher. Galatians 3:10 says, “or as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Jeremiah 31:33 says, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” This doesn’t mean that the ‘law’ has been done away with. It simply means that if we love God, have accepted Jesus as our Savior, the law is now written on our hearts – we should love the ‘law’ and should want to follow as many as possible out of our love for God. Romans 2:12-16 says, “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” Scripture does not say that the animals were ever made clean. We need to stop trying to make it fit our own agenda. And, we need to realize that we do not want God to change because a changing God can change His commands at any time. Which doesn’t only apply to unclean animals, but to ALL of Scripture, including these: John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

    1. Hi Lisa,

      The eating in scripture changes quite a few times.

      In the beginning man was vegetarian. God says in Genesis 1:30 – “I give every green plant for food”.

      Then after the flood there was a new covenant with Noah and man was allowed to eat clean and unclean meat. Genesis 9:3 says “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”

      Then in Leviticus meat eating was more strict, limiting them to eat only meat that was clean ( Leviticus 11:47 etc.).

      In the new covenant in Christ’s blood, meat eating is based on our conscience. We see this stated in Romans 14:1-4:

      “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

      Hope this helps in your understanding.

      Lots of Love,
      Courtney

  9. Hi!
    I’m Twelve and I’m struggling with masturbation.
    I want to pursue holiness, but I feel embarrassed talking about it to others. Any advice?

    -help me

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