The nature of holiness is that it is not satisfied to be in just one area. It wants to penetrate into all areas; it wants to purify the whole; as light it wants to brighten every corner and crack. In this study of personal holiness, I want to discuss every possible area of holiness in our lives—complete holiness. As I see it, there are generally two areas of personal holiness: outer holiness, or holiness in the body, and inner holiness, or holiness in the mind and the spirit.
HOLINESS IN MIND AND SPIRIT
These areas of our inner being must be considered of primary importance when it comes to holiness; for without holiness in these areas, the outer body will neither be holy.
The mind. The mind is that place from where we think and reason and imagine. And though we believe that these things originate in the brain, which is part of our physical body, we believe also that the mind is part of our inner being—our soul and spirit. Jerry Bridges said, “Holiness begins in our mind and works out to our actions.”5 Thus we ought to guard our mind so that we think only thoughts that are pure. And to do that we must watch what we see, hear, and read. We ought also to stay away from worldly things, and be attentive rather to heavenly things—to the reading of the Bible, good books, and good conversation.
The Spirit. The spirit of man is his most inner being, that part of the self that is able to connect with God and relate to God—because God is spirit. Thus, if we are not holy in spirit, we cannot have fellowship with God.
Some of the sins of the spirit are these: hatred, anger, envy, bitterness, unforgiveness, selfishness and pride. These things are naturally in us—because of our sinful flesh; however, if we do not immediately put them to death when they spring up in us, they will cause us trouble in our spirit (Heb. 12:15), and a collapse in our relationship with God.
HOLINESS IN THE BODY
Our physical bodies are created by God to glorify Him and to provide for Him a beautiful temple (1 Cor. 3:16). Here are seven parts of our body that we need to control for our holiness:
The eyes. What we see with our eyes affects our whole body, mind, and spirit—for either good or evil. For this reason, we need to keep our eyes fixed on only what is pure, and away from what is vile and worthless (Ps. 101:3, 119:37).
The ears. Like our eyes, our ears affect our whole being deeply. Let us consecrate our ears to God so that we listen to only what is good and pure, and to reject or tune out things that are untrue and impure.
The tongue. The tongue is a very small member, but capable of great things. Like fire, sinful words of the tongue can spread destruction and contamination rapidly. But if controlled the tongue can bring great truth, encouragement and blessing (Ja. 3:1-12).
The mouth. The mouth is that area where we take in food and drink. Let us be careful what we eat and drink so that we don’t consume what is bad for us, or even too much of what is good for us. For what we eat and drink affect not only the health of the body but also of the mind and attitude.
The hands. Learn to control your hands. Keep busy doing good with your hands and not evil.
The feet. A person with unholy feet will always go where he can get into trouble. But holy feet go here and there to serve others and to spread the good new (Eph. 6:15).
The sexual parts. God created all the sexual parts of our body for our benefit and for His glory. They allow us to enjoy our differences as male and female. They also make it possible, with a marriage partner, to procreate and to give pleasure to each other. Though we have only a few sexual organs, sexuality (between a husband and wife) is an expression of the whole person and it becomes a worship experience and a celebration of praise to God.
However, because a Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, whenever there is sexual sin of any kind, it will involve and join Christ with a harlot (1 Cor. 6:15-16). This unholy union is a terrible sin and it affects not only our relationship with God and others, but it is destructive to our own person (corrupting our body, mind and spirit). Thus, it is important to keep our body free from sexual sin.
5 Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs, Colorado: NAVPRESS, 1978), p. 118.