In The Bible Pal speaks of "will-worship" and he says that many people think this is holiness but it's only a carnal form of holiness. Will-worship happens when we decided that "as Christians I shouldn't do this, and as Christians I shouldn't do that or as Christians I shouldn't go there." But it's not truly a working of God within our heart.
While we are to abstain from every appearance of holiness, the spiritual truth is that we should be so changed by the word working in our spirit that we simply have no desire to go to the wrong places or do the wrong things. The Word is what changes us; it is not we who change ourselves. Heck, if we could change ourselves we would not need the holy spirit working in us through the word to change us.
So if we suddenly find ourselves not really liking certain kinds of movies -- even those movies our Christian friends say are fine-- then the word is working within us. Or if we simpy stop dealing with certain drinks, gossiping or bullying people, or hanging out with judgmental Christians or Christians who like arguing over semantics and Biblical words, or greedy people, or even if we find ourselves suddenly stopping some of our "spiritual" behavior then it may very well be the holy spirit working with us...which is ALWAYS caused by the BIBLE being read by us and us allowing it to work and to mysteriously plant the changes in us.
This kind of "I don't know what's with me but I just find myself avoiding certain places, certain people, certain movies, certain kinds of entertainment, certain kind of so-called Christian activities" shows more of the Holy Spirit's and the Word's actions within us than when we say, "I shouldn't drink this because it's sinful" or "I shouldn't go there because a Christian should not go there." In the first instance, we are changed within through no will-worship of our own will. In the latter instance, it's about us doing a thing legally and forcing ourselves to behave against our own human unchanged human nature. Our legalistic human will being used to force us to behave in the accepted way.... instead of God changing us from within and simply changing us and purifying us from within.
How many serial killers and adulterers have we seen who went to church or synagogue? They had "tried" to be good but hadn't read the Bible deeply or long or meditatively enough to allow it to change them? How many alcoholics and drug addicts have we seen who tried to change from without...instead of allowing the change to come from their higher power within?
It's often for a legalistic person to know the difference. They assume that because they are able to stop themselves from fulfilling their inner desires that they have been saved from their sins. Yet, aren't they still basically the same? We need to read the Bible everyday to change us from within. And even better, we need to HEAR the Bible everyday. (Nowhere in the Bible does it say that reading the Bible changes us. IT says faith comes by HEARING the word of God. So there is something in the mind that responds to the auditory. We must read the word out loud, we must listen to sermons.) Anyone who does not read her Bible does not change from within and is only playing at holiness. Even if they manage to behave properly all the time, they are still sinners who have managed to control themselves, not really changed people transformed by the word of God. NOTE: I'm not saying we should follow our lusts and go to places we know we shouldn't. But I am saying that if you're struggling with certain sins and impulses, you might have to read the Bible more. So the word can work in you and change you.
This is very important because if we live under the law and legalistically we immediately lose all the blessings Jesus died to give us. We cannot get anything from God through works. As long as we are trying to do good works and earn holiness, then we are no longer under the power of grace. In fact, Paul tells the Galatians that when we start living legalistically again we are under a curse. So grace comes by trusting the holy spirit working in you through the word of God by faith.
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