Summary: Part One of Two-Part Message in Pursuing Holy Thoughts, distinguishing between that which is presented as truth and truth as Scripture accurately presents it.
PURSUING HOLY THOUGHTS (Part One of Two)
*INTRO> In the Antarctic summer of 1908, Sir Ernest Shackleton and three companions, plus two ponies, attempted to travel to the South Pole. However, weeks after they set off, with their rations all but exhausted, they turned back toward their base, their goal not accomplished. All tototal, their trek lasted 127 days. Shackleton kept a journal and recorded their time together on the return trip, which was mostly spent talking about food: elaborate feasts, gourmet delights, sumptuous menus. As they staggered along, suffering from dyssentery, not knowing whether they would survive or not, every waking hour was occupied with thoughts of eating.
We can perhaps understand Shackleton’s obsession with food...but Jesus, who also knew the ravages of food deprivation, said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness." He taught us that our passion, our hunger, our drive, our pursuit of righteousness and holiness is to be OUR minute-to-minute "obsession," our central focus of every day...as intense as that of a someone starving for food.
As we sang earlier, He is to be the air we breathe, our daily bread. We’re to desire an intimate relationship with the Lord so intensely that it borders of desperation...we’re to be desperate for Him...lost without Him...as we pursue God’s pleasure in all things.
I invite you to open a Bible and turn to Philippians, chapter four.
In order to pursue holy thoughts we must first understand what "holiness" means.
<>Holiness DOESN’T mean...never cutting your hair, wearing high-necked shirts even in summer, priding yourself on being more "godly" than others.
-->Rather than comparing ourselves to others, the proper standard of holiness is how do we compare to God’s righteousness, and how "set apart" and "sanctified" are we, how committed are we to seeking to please God in everything, willing to comply with His standards, rather than conforming to the world’s standards or lack of them.
--Quote> J. Bridges, in his book, "Pursuit of Holiness," quotes the 19th century Scottish theologian, John Brown, in saying, "Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervors, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills."
-->Holiness involves understanding that we’re called with a holy calling, called to a holy purpose, to be a holy people for God’s pleasure, we’re a holy priesthood, and part of God’s holy church.
-->Holiness requires an intentional decision, a commitment to living a godly, holy, pure life.
-->Holiness requires saying "no" to "unholy" activities, and saying "yes" to that which pleases God.
-->Holiness requires responding to His leading every day, and every moment of every day.
-->Holiness results in bringing glory to God, bringing a smile to His face, pleasing Him in all things.
<>But holiness begins with our thoughts, with how we think...because our actions are a response to our thoughts.
--Prov.23:7 -- "For as he thinks within himself, so he is."