Communion with the Lord
Nothing should be more important than walking in unbroken fellowship and communion with the Lord. The writer of the book of Hebrews states in Hebrews 12:14 “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” We are commanded to pursue consecration and holiness. The warning is all too clear - without holiness no one will see the Lord. God will not share His anointing and power with unclean vessels. “…purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the Lord” (Isaiah 52:11).
The body of Christ is being confronted with the demands of living a holy, pure life. Recently, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me saying, “Tell the Church holiness is not a dirty word!” Neither is “holiness” optional!
When we cover over our hearts to keep our sins hidden from God, we also cover our spiritual eyes and become unable to see the things of God. When we get rid of our self-protection and self-righteous pretence, and instead purify our hearts, our spiritual vision is restored to see the kingdom of God. In Matthew 5:8 Christ Jesus gives us a promise: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” What a wonderful promise. If our hearts are pure and our souls upright we shall see the Lord. We will not only see things in the spiritual realm; we shall see God actively at work in our lives and our ministry.
In Proverbs 22:11, we read this precious promise, “He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.” The King of kings and Lord of lords desires to fellowship and have communion with the pure in heart. If we are going to walk in power and true authority, it will be because we have purified our hearts. To advance in the authority of God we must have more than ‘clean hands’ and ‘pure hearts’.
Holiness deals not only with our ‘actions’, but also our ‘attitudes’. Let us hear and heed the warning in Psalm 24:3-5, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
What is holiness?What is the true meaning of ‘holiness’? The Greek word used here is the word ‘hagiasmos’ which speaks of sanctification, consecration, purification. Sanctification and holiness are more than just an attempt to separate oneself from sin. We must be separated unto the Lord. True holiness is separation from sin, but it is also union with the Lord. It is a coming out from the world, and coming to the Lord. If we attempt just to be isolated from sinful things, and do not allow ourselves to be brought into a deeper walk with the Lord, it will result in our being overtaken by a self-righteous religious spirit. Remember, we are separated unto the Lord, not just separated from a sinful lifestyle.
An example of coming out of sin and to the Lord can be clearly seen in the story of the wayward son in Luke 15:11-24. Looking at this parable we discover wilful rebellion on the part of the younger son. We also see the high cost of low living. “He had spent all, wasting his inheritance in riotous living” (Luke 15:13). Now the young man is totally depleted, destitute, and living in a hog pen. He is at the lowest point in his entire life - no friends, no food, separated from family. At this dark, desperate time the Holy Spirit brings the wonderful working power of conviction, resulting in him coming to his senses, “He came to himself, saying ‘I will get up from here and return in repentance to my father's house’”, came out of the hog pen of his sinful living, and went back to his father's house. This will be the year that many backsliders come to themselves, come to their senses, and get up and return back to the Father's House where true hope and help will be received. What a joy this will be to see the wounded return and restored!
Developing a pure heartThe development of self-control is essential for bringing your thoughts and actions into captivity to the obedience of Christ and renewing your mind daily. The results are true consecration: sanctification of your heart and life. Consecration is not just the outward restraining of ones involvement in sin: but a cleansing of ones heart to the point of not wanting to do anything that would offend the heart of God. The Spirit of God is seeking to break our heart over what breaks our Heavenly Father's heart. This only happens when there is both a purging and a placing - a purging away of our unrepentant sin, and a placing in our hearts of God's holy precepts. Yes, we need a Holy Spirit pruning, a lopping off of every fruitless branch, as well as a watering with the Water of the Word of God that causes us to grow in spiritual fruitfulness. We must have a removing of all that is unholy, and then a reordering of our hearts so they are ruled by He who is holy. It is time to get the world out of our hearts to make more room for God to rule. We must open our hearts to God's searchlight - removing every little thing it exposes that is not of Him, and then place the Light of His Word into our hearts to keep them ever pure. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
A cry for cleansingHaving a pure heart begins with a cry for cleansing. The Holy Spirit is calling for repentance and cleansing from the defilement of sin. It is imperative that we ask the Lord to search our heart and expose any and all sins, so we can confess it and forsake it. Remember the warning of Psalm 66:18 “If I regard sin in my heart the Lord will not hear me!” If we give sin a safe hiding place in our hearts it will hinder our communication with God.
We will do well to ponder the prayer of King David in Psalm 51. This is the greatest of the penitential psalms and has a very powerful prayer of confession of sin and call for forgiveness. David's confession comes after being confronted and rebuked by the prophet Nathan.
The lesson we see is that no one can get to a place or position where they are not accountable for his or her conduct. Our nation certainly needs to hear this lesson… that power and position do not release you from living a life accountable to God.
This Psalm starts with a cry of confession. David clearly declares himself to have sinned and to be in need of God's mercy. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2).
But the prayer goes on to petition the Lord not only cleanse the heart, but renew and restore: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit with me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me by Your generous Spirit”(Psalm 51:10-12). David wants to be more than a forgiven sinner. He wants to become a pure vessel of the Lord. In essence he is crying out “make me more of what you want me to be. Because of your goodness and loving kindness, cause this defeat to bring new levels of victory in my life!”
Living in the light of God's WordThe promise is very clear; if we want to stay close to the Lord, we must live a pure, holy life. The only way this is possible is to live a life ordered and directed by the Word of God. It is not sufficient to cast out the dark deeds of our sin; we must live in the light of His Word. This is seen in 1 John 1:7-10 which states, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” This truth is also seen in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 6:5-6 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.”
To keep our hearts pure, we must learn to abide with the Word of God. Too many Christians think of time spent with their Bibles as optional reading assignments or unnecessary legalism. But God's Word is more than something to turn to when you need a promise or are preparing a teaching. It is from reading, meditation and memorizing the Bible (having it hidden in our hearts) that we will know God's perfect path of purity. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
The result of a clean heart will be that we will see God, and others will see God in our lives. This will reap souls into the kingdom of God, and bring joy to the hearts of believers.
May God grant us grace to seek Him until He comes and rains righteousness upon us. “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12).
Don't get used to the dark“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” Ephesians 5:11. Not long ago my wife and I were invited to attend a very fancy candle-light dinner. Only a few candles illuminated the restaurant; this was to enhance the mood and create an atmosphere, which was to be very unique. I stumbled into the dimly lit room, fumbled for a chair, mumbling in a whisper that I needed a flashlight in order to read the menu. It was a lesson in walking by faith and not by sight. However there was a spiritual lesson being shown. Gradually my eyes were becoming accustomed to the darkness being able to focus on objects. I thought: “Funny, isn't it, how one gets used to the dark?” The Spirit of God began to reveal the desperate need for Christians to come out of the darkness and walk in the light of day.
This is the time to walk in the pure light of the Lord in order to reflect His divine radiance.