Take Time To Be Holy!

April 14

TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY

William D. Longstaff, 1822 -1894

But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15, 16)

The valuable guidelines given in this hymn for living a holy life are just as pertinent for believers today as they were when William Longstaff wrote them more than a century ago. God still requires a holy lifestyle for His people. We sometimes confuse holiness with piety, which can be merely a hypocritical goodness that masks inner deceit or impurity. A truly holy or Christ-like life reveals the virtues mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5, 6: Goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. We are surrounded today by so much sham and insincerity that we are often unconsciously affected by such influences. To maintain the quality of life that God demands, we must determine to take time to develop a life that is genuinely and consistently holy in every area.

William Longstaff, though financially independent (son of a wealthy English ship owner), was a humble and devout Christian layman and a close friend and supporter of the Moody-Sankey evangelistic team that stirred England with great revival campaigns during the late 19th century. After hearing a sermon on 1 Peter 1:16—“Be ye holy, for I am holy”—with reference to the book of Leviticus from which it was originally taken, young William began to make the achievement of holiness his life’s goal. Although this was his only hymn, these words have since been an invaluable influence for sincere believers everywhere who truly desire to live a genuine Christian life:

  Take time to be holy. Speak oft with thy Lord; abide in Him always and feed on His Word. Make friends of God’s children. Help those who are weak, forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
  Take time to be holy. The world rushes on; spend much time in secret with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
  Take time to be holy. Let Him be thy guide, and run not before Him, whatever betide. In joy or in sorrow still follow thy Lord, and, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
  Take time to be holy. Be calm in thy soul—Each thought and each motive beneath His control. Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

For Today: Leviticus 20:7, 8; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:23, 24; 1 Timothy 1:8; Hebrews 12:14

Reflect on all of the various suggestions for holy living listed in this hymn text. Sing these truths as you go realizing you need to—

Osbeck, K. W. (1996). Amazing grace: 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (p. 245). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

EZC:

  • Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep ye therefore mine ordinances, and do them: I a the Lord which doth sanctify you. (Leviticus 20:7, 8)
  • And when Solomon had made an end of praying, fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices: and the glory of the Lord filled the house. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
  • And be renewed in the spirit of your mind, And put on the new man, which after God is created unto righteousness. Ephesians 4:23, 24
  • And we know, that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully. 1 Timothy 1:8
  • Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without the which no man shall see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

Morning and Evening

Morning

Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work.  —Psalm 92:4

Do you believe that your sins are forgiven, and that Christ has made a full atonement for them? Then what a joyful Christian you ought to be! How you should live above the common trials and troubles of the world! Since sin is forgiven, can it matter what happens to you now? Luther said, “Smite, Lord, smite, for my sin is forgiven; if thou hast but forgiven me, smite as hard as thou wilt”; and in a similar spirit you may say, “Send sickness, poverty, losses, crosses, persecution, what thou wilt, thou hast forgiven me, and my soul is glad.” Christian, if thou art thus saved, whilst thou art glad, be grateful and loving. Cling to that cross which took thy sin away; serve thou him who served thee. “I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Let not your zeal evaporate in some little ebullition of song. Show your love in expressive tokens. Love the brethren of him who loved you. If there be a Mephibosheth anywhere who is lame or halt, help him for Jonathan’s sake. If there be a poor tried believer, weep with him, and bear his cross for the sake of him who wept for thee and carried thy sins. Since thou art thus forgiven freely for Christ’s sake, go and tell to others the joyful news of pardoning mercy. Be not contented with this unspeakable blessing for thyself alone, but publish abroad the story of the cross. Holy gladness and holy boldness will make you a good preacher, and all the world will be a pulpit for you to preach in. Cheerful holiness is the most forcible of sermons, but the Lord must give it you. Seek it this morning before you go into the world. When it is the Lord’s work in which we rejoice, we need not be afraid of being too glad.

Evening

I know their sorrows.Exodus 3:7

The child is cheered as he sings, “This my father knows”; and shall not we be comforted as we discern that our dear Friend and tender soul-husband knows all about us?

1. He is the Physician, and if he knows all, there is no need that the patient should know. Hush, thou silly, fluttering heart, prying, peeping, and suspecting! What thou knowest not now, thou shalt know hereafter, and meanwhile Jesus, the beloved Physician, knows thy soul in adversities. Why need the patient analyze all the medicine, or estimate all the symptoms? This is the Physician’s work, not mine; it is my business to trust, and his to prescribe. If he shall write his prescription in uncouth characters which I cannot read, I will not be uneasy on that account, but rely upon his unfailing skill to make all plain in the result, however mysterious in the working.

2. He is the Master, and his knowledge is to serve us instead of our own; we are to obey, not to judge: “The servant knoweth not what his lord doeth.” Shall the architect explain his plans to every hodman on the works? If he knows his own intent, is it not enough? The vessel on the wheel cannot guess to what pattern it shall be conformed, but if the potter understands his art, what matters the ignorance of the clay? My Lord must not be cross-questioned any more by one so ignorant as I am.

3. He is the Head. All understanding centres there. What judgment has the arm? What comprehension has the foot? All the power to know lies in the head. Why should the member have a brain of its own when the head fulfils for it every intellectual office? Here, then, must the believer rest his comfort in sickness, not that he himself can see the end, but that Jesus knows all. Sweet Lord, be thou for ever eye, and soul, and head for us, and let us be content to know only what thou choosest to reveal.

Spurgeon, C. H

August 14: Being Busy
Isaiah 29:1–30:17; Luke 10:1–42; Job 7:1–10

Sometimes it’s difficult to deal with quiet. For most people, chaos, deadlines, managing multiple schedules, and being “so busy” are a way of life. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we like it. Busyness implies we are special and valued and the work we’re doing is necessary. And we have a desperate need to be valued.

When others failed to recognize Martha’s work—when Mary didn’t hold to the same values—she complained to Jesus. He responded by rebuking her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things! But few things are necessary, or only one thing, for Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42).

What is the “better part”? Mary “sat at the feet of Jesus and was listening to his teaching” (Luke 10:39), and Jesus praised her desire to listen and learn. Mary was captivated by the “one thing” that would change the world: Jesus and the kingdom He was ushering in. Jesus showed Martha that she should also give Him this reception—being willing to learn, not anxious about her busy schedule. He asked her to shift her perspective.

Choosing the “better part” doesn’t invalidate the things we’re busy with; indeed, Martha’s work served the needs of others. But the things we do shouldn’t shape our identity. The “one thing” that should shape our identity—the one thing we really need—is Jesus. Ultimately, it’s the desire to know Him and serve Him that should shape our lives. And whatever is not dedicated to that service is not among “the few things [that] are necessary.”

What things are you busy with? Why?

REBECCA VAN NOORD

Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

EZC:

  • Ah altar, altar of the city that David dwelt in: add year unto year: let them kill lambs. But I will bring the altar into the duress, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow, and it shall be unto me like an altar. And I will besiege thee as a circle, and fight against thee on a mount, and will cast up ramparts against thee. So shalt thou be humbled, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be as out of the dust: thy voice also shall be out of the ground like him that hath a spirit of divination, and thy talking shall whisper out of the dust. Moreover, multitude of thy strangers shall be like dust, and the multitude of strong men shall be a chaff that passeth away: and it shall be in  a moment, even suddenly. Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and shaking, and a great noise, a whirlwind, and a tempest, and a flame of a devouring fire. And the multitude of all nations that fight against the altar, shall be as a dream or a vision by night: even all they that make the war against it, to lay siege unto it. And it shall be like as an hungry man dreamed, and behold, he eateth: and when he awaketh, his soul is empty: or like as a thirsty man dreameth, and lo, he is drinking, and when he awaketh, behold, he is faint, and his soul longeth: so shall the multitude of nations be that fight against mount Zion. Stay yourselves and wonder: they are blind, and make you blind: they are drunken, but not with wine: they stagger, but not by strong drink. For the Lord hath covered you with a spirit of slumber, and hath shut up your eyes: the Prophet, and your chief Seers hath he covered. And the vision of them all is become unto you, as the words of a book that is sealed up, which they deliver to one that can read, saying, Read this, I pray thee. Then they he say, I cannot; for it is sealed. And the book is given unto him that cannot read, saying, Read this, I pray thee. And he shall say, I cannot read. Therefore the Lord said, Because this people come near unto me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear toward me, and their fear toward me was taught by the precept of man. Therefore behold, I will again do a marvelous work in this people, even a marvelous work, and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord: for their works are in darkness, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Your turning of devices shall it not be esteemed as the potters clay? for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or the thing formed, say of him that fashioned it, He had none understanding? It is not yet but a little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into Carmel? and Carmel shall be counted as a forecast? (Isaiah 29:1–30:17)
  • After these things, the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them, two and two before him into every city and place, whither he himself should come. And he said unto them, The harvest is given, but the laborers are few: pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Bear no bag, neither scrip, nor shoes, and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him, if not, it shall turn to you again. And in that house tarry still, eating and drinking such things as by them shall be set before you: for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Go not from house to house. But into whatsoever city ye shall enter, if they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick that are there, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come near unto you. But into whatsoever city ye shall enter, if they receive you, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust, which cleaveth on us of your city, we wipe off against you: notwithstanding know this, that the kingdom of God was come near unto you. For I say to you, it shall be easier for Sodom, than for that city. Woe be to thee, Chorazin: woe be to thee, Bethsaida: for if the miracles had been done in Tyree and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while agone repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. Therefore it shall be easier for Tyre, and Sidon, at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capternum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. He that heareth you, heareth me: and he that despiseth you, despiseth me: and he that depiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. And the seventy turned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subdued to us through thy Name. (Luke 10:1–42)
  • Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? and are not his days as the days of an hireling? As a servant longeth for the shadow, and an hireling looketh for the end of his work, So have I had as an inheritance the mouths of vanity, and painful nights have been appointed unto me. If I laid me down, I said, When shall I arise? And measuring the evening, I am even full with tossing to and fro unto the dawning of the day. My flesh is clothed with worms and filthiness of the dust: my skin is rent, and become horrible. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they are spent without hope. Remember that my life is but a wind, and that mine eye shall not return to see pleasure. They eye that hath seen me, shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I shall be no longer. As the cloud vanisheth and goeth away, so that he that goeth down to the grave, shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him anymore. (Job 7:1–10)