I’d be all for that! What about you?
For the last two weeks, you’ve heard me and some friends talk a lot about holiness through an emphasis we’ve called New Start 15. We’ve highlighted the benefits of holiness. We’ve reiterated God’s call to holiness. And this week, we’re getting down to the nitty gritty of practically living out holiness in our day-to-day lives.
Today’s New Start 15 Bible Reading is Colossians 3:1-17. In this passage, Paul repeatedly tells believers to “take off” our old self and all its sinful ways and to “put on” the new self God created us to be. The new, holy self. Today, I’d like to paint a picture of holiness. If we can see what it looks like lived out, then we can emulate it, right?
The Bible uses a few different words that all mean the same thing – living a life that reflects the character and nature of God. Some of these words are “holy, godly, pure, set apart, and righteous.” But today, let’s focus on one more.
A holy life is a blameless life
In Psalm 15:1, David asked God, “LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” The Message translates it like this: “God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list?”
If we were asking that same question, we would say something like this: “Lord, who can hang out with You? Who gets to be in Your ‘inner circle’ of trusted friends?”
We get God’s answer in Psalm 15:2. “He whose walk is blameless.”
Well, I long to enter God’s presence, but I’m not sure I would describe myself as “blameless.” What does that even mean?
The Hebrew adjective translated as “blameless” in Psalm 15:2 in the NIV and “uprightly” in the KJV, means “entire, whole, complete, perfect, sound, faultless, upright in one’s conduct, especially toward God.” (Definition from The Complete Word Study Old Testament.)
Good definition, but that’s too general for me to get my head around. I need a practical description. I need to know what “blameless” looks like in daily life?
What does “blameless” look like?
Thankfully, the Bible tells us. Psalm 15 and 101 describe a “blameless” life (Read them now if you have time. They aren’t long.) The following list of characteristics is derived from these two psalms of David.
- She practices praise (Ps 101:1) – Regularly contemplate the holy nature of God. Recognizing His worthiness will not only foster praise, we will also be moved to obedience.
- She lives with integrity at home, in business, and in the world (Ps 15:5, Ps 101:7)– Sometimes we fail to purposefully watch our words and actions at home like we do other places. We tend to let our guard down; to allow our first, sinful instincts to rule. We need to be as careful at home as we are away from home.
- She turns away from everything vile or vulgar (Ps 15:4; Ps 101:3)– “Blameless” women do not compromise with the sinful ways of the world. We don’t allow ourselves to become desensitized to immorality, crudeness, or risqué humor by watching it, reading it, or listening to it. Instead, we long to be holy. (For a sad example of how Christians can so easily slip into the culture, read my “Holiness is not a Shade of Grey.”)
- She ruthlessly guards against evil thoughts and behavior (Ps 101:3-4) – We must proactively rid our lives of every thought and action contrary to the nature and character of God and work to live holy lives.
- She does not use her words to tear others down (Ps 15:3)– Our speech should be edifying and encouraging. That doesn’t mean everything we need to say will be easy. But it does mean it will be helpful to the hearer.
- She does not collaborate with ungodly, wicked people (Ps 15:5, Ps 101:3-4) – The only way to never encounter ungodly people is to leave this life and transfer to heaven. However, we can choose not to enter into agreements, projects, or business dealings with people whose worldview is not Christ-centered.
- She embraces honesty (Ps 15:3, Ps 101:7) – Satan is the father of lies. Anytime we are less than honest we have yielded to the tempter! Let’s commit to total honesty in our own lives and conduct. We should also expect honesty from the people around us and distance ourselves from those who refuse to be honest.
- She does not seek gain that brings harm to others (Ps 15:5) – God wants us to use our God-given skills, talents, and gifts to support the Kingdom, serve others, and provide for ourselves and our families. However, any effort for gain or advancement that takes advantage of others is sinful.
- She squashes pride and conceit (Ps 101:5) – Pride fosters an abundance of sin. Those who want to live blameless before God will seek humility by keeping both God and herself in proper perspective.
- She helps, encourages, and protects the godly (Ps 15:4) – God calls us to serve others and meet the needs of those who cannot help themselves. Do we respond when they cross our paths?
Wow, seems like a tall order, doesn’t it? And this isn’t even an exhaustive list, but I’m sure you get the idea. “Blameless” is first cousin to “holy.” If we live like this we will be very different than many in our culture. We will be less like the world and more like Christ. In fact, that’s exactly God’s point!
Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us. As we walk blamelessly and strive to live holy lives, we will also enjoy the intimate, abundant presence of our holy God.
Which of these 10 characteristics do you struggle with the most? Why is that, do you think?
- Original Invitation to New Start 15
- Bible reading plan
- New Start 15 Facebook group
- Daily Blog Schedule
- List of Suggested Resources
- “Numb and Number” by Cynthia Hopkins
- “Why Jesus Followers Don’t Always Act Like Jesus Follower” by Lindsey Bell
- “Thought Life to a Prayer Life” by Carla McDougal