Behind ole Doc Jones’ office building it happened for the first time. I don’t know how old I was, but I was a bicycle-riding kid old enough for my parents to give me permission to go to a movie that night with two friends.
The two brothers, one and two years older than me, introduced me to it. I would not have dreamed of doing this on my own. You know how peer pressure goes and how a kid looks up to those who are older.
I met them at their house. We began our walk to town to see the movie. On the way they suggested we not go to the movie. Instead we hid behind Doc Jones’ office. They produced the contraband which they had smuggled out of their house.
They each took one and handed me one. I smoked my first cigarette. In one fell swoop, I succumbed to peer pressure, my words about going to a movie became a lie, and I indulged in something strictly forbidden in my family.
Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 NLT
The context of this verse is important, read chapter six. There you will find Paul’s warning not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. This could apply to marriage, friendships, or business partners. These partnerships can throw us off track spiritually in a heartbeat!
Then the apostle Paul introduces us to “these promises” in last verses of chapter six.
I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”
Paul references Lev. 26:12, Ezek. 37:27, Isa. 52:11, Ezek. 20:34, and 2 Sam. 7:14.
I would not have smoked that cigarette if my Dad watched. I would not have given in to peer pressure to break my word about going to a movie if my Dad stood there!
Here’s the promise: God is standing there! More than that, He is living in us!
No, we don’t live a holy life because the bogeyman will get us if we don’t. We live a holy life because a loving Father made the costly sacrifice to have a special relationship with us and IT WILL BREAK HIS HEART if we don’t.
And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
Why? So we can be saved? NO! Because we ARE saved! Be sure not to get those backwards. We work because He saved us by grace, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). We work toward holiness because we respect a holy God who LOVES us!
Our Father, thank-you for the promise to live in us and walk among us. Your grace gift of salvation motivates us to live lives pleasing in your presence. Thank-you for Jesus, the Immanuel, for in Him You are WITH US!