Girl sitting in a bench

Illusions of Holiness

For the past few weeks, God has been sounding a very loud alarm to not only to me but others around me. An alarm that has been waking us up to holiness, righteousness, repentance and uncompromising faith. This alarm has been sounding to me in so many different ways and I thank God that He allowed me to hear.

I was speaking to one of my brothers some time ago and he was talking about how people can be stuck in illusions of righteousness and illusions of holiness and think that they’re okay. At that point, I had to stop everything I was doing and just process what he had said so I’m just going to be unpacking my thoughts about it.

The Standard

The simplest way for me to define an illusion is by saying it’s a false sense or false misrepresentation of reality. As a child, I was always interested in things to do with logic, mind, verbal and non-verbal reasoning and  generally anything to do with thinking. I especially loved optical illusions and I still do. They absolutely fascinate me….. but the thing is… in order for an illusion to exist, there has to be a reality. In this case the reality is that pictures don’t move.  They are still; so if a picture appears to be moving it is our brain and eyes that are making us believe that. Now if we are to parallel this to the spiritual realm, holiness is our reality and Christ is our standard. We are commanded to be holy. If at any point, we think we can compromise or that it’s not attainable, it is our soul (brain, mind, intellect) and our flesh (physical desires, hormones, cravings) that is convincing us of that.

When I first heard the title for this blog Proverbs 30:12 came to mind and it says:

There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,
Yet is not washed from its filthiness.

Pure in its own eyes. We are never to trust to our own eyes, our own judgement or our own flesh unless we can be absolutely sure that they are subject to the spirit of the Most High God. On a very basic level, you could say that our eyes form our reality because they see what is undeniable. I can see my laptop on my lap therefore…. it is on my lap. I can’t deny that because that’s what my physical eyes can see but as believers we do not rely on our physical eyes alone. Why? Well there are a few reasons but I’ll pick just this one:

There’s usually a log in it.

That log could be pride (Matt 7:5), lust, (1 John 2:16) or even just darkness (Matt 7:22-23). How are we supposed to see ourselves as pure? How are we supposed to see anything if our vision is so tainted? We cannot use ourselves to judge our own levels of holiness. We cannot use anyone else either.

For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. – 2 Corinthians 10:12

A lot of us measure our holiness against others’ behaviour. “All these Christians drink. I don’t therefore I’m more mature and holier than they are.”. Truth is, if you have this mentality you’re actually pretty far off. I would suggest you repent and renew your mind. Grace is available for change. I don’t say that to be rude but I say it because it’s in the word of God so it’s not up for negotiation!

So what am I saying? I’m saying that we create an illusion of holiness when we try and measure ourselves up against anything other than God and His word. A sister of mine describes this as our frame of reference. Who is your frame of reference? If it’s not Christ, it’s time to re-evaluate.

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The Journey

Some people believe that holiness is an instant, one-time thing. You say a prayer, sins are forgiven, righteousness comes upon you and now you’re holy…. well… no. Not quite.

In Leviticus 20:26 God says to His chosen people that they are to be holy for He is holy and that He has set them apart to be His. I take “be” to be an active word, a verb.  You don’t just arrive at holiness. It’s a process of being, a process of becoming more like Christ.

Many of us create an illusion of holiness when we look like we’re growing but really we’re still carnal babies. Remember, illusion is all about appearance. Some of us have received salvation but are now stuck there. Some of us are naked Christians. We have our helmet of salvation strapped on but we’re told to put on the whole armour of God. Where’s the rest?  Some of us have entered through the narrow gate (and even that was a struggle for some) and have just stayed at the gate. Tired from squeezing through it because we carried all the weight we were supposed to lay aside. Tired from carrying all the sin that so easily entangles. We stay at the gate out of laziness or fear. Do you think God is gonna be waiting on you at the door? *tilts head*

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Now please don’t get me wrong. Salvation is the most beautiful, miraculous gift we can ever receive and we are never to take it for granted but there is still a long way to go after receiving that gift. There is still a race that needs to be run, a fight that needs to be fought, a narrow way that needs to be walked down. It’s on the journey that we drop what will hinder us and gain what will help us.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. – 2 Corinthians 7:1

Paul tells us very plainly that we are to perfect holiness. If I’m writing a spoken word and I want it to be perfect, I’m working on it, editing it, memorising it etc. It’s the same with holiness. We are to work it out, live it out, meditate on it, improve on it, develop it, perfect it. Do not let the holiness you have in Christ be merely an illusion because God cannot and will not be mocked. He can see straight through you. We have a standard to live up to, a journey to go through and a destination to get to. Let us shake off all illusions and distorted perceptions of holiness and replace it with authenticity. Let’s make authentic holiness our reality.

With love,

Tolu “Tee” Ijiti

(www.teeijiti.wordpress.com)

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