Priceless Woman Ministries
Julia M. Faulkner
When you decided to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you became a new creature. According to 2 Cor. 5:17: *Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new*. The old man served sin, but the new creature should no longer serve sin. Rom. 6:6: *Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin*. You were given liberty, and made free from sin. 2 Cor. 3:17: *Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty*. Rom. 6:18: *Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness*. So if you are changed and become new, and if you no longer serve sin but the Lord, then every area of your life should proclaim this. How you act, dress, talk, where you go, what you watch or read or listen to, who you fellowship with (2 Cor. 6:14: *Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?*). And this is the topic of our study this month. Why is it so important for a Christian, a follower of Christ, to be different from the world?
First, let's see what it means to be a Christian. Where did the name first come from? Acts 11:26: *And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch*. Those who gathered to teach and learn of Christ, and follow His teachings, were given the name Christian. *Christian* means follower of Christ. Are you worthy to be called by the name of Christ our Lord? Do you really follow Christ's example daily?
In setting yourself apart from the world in your everyday life by following the ways of Jesus, you are putting on a uniform that says *I'm on Jesus' team!* You are associating yourself with Jesus. So it is very important to remember that everything you do reflects on Jesus and the entire Jesus team! The team being the Church.
A word of caution, though. Always be sure to keep your motives in check. Gal. 5:26: *Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another*. Are you doing these things to bring attention to yourself? Gal. 1:10: *For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ*. Are you trying to please man or God?
Your main concern should be in glorifying and honoring God. Matt. 5:16: *Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven*.
Others (most specifically the lost) see Christ through you. 1 Tim. 4:12: *Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity*. What do others see in the example, the light, of your life? Is a Christ reflected there?
2 Corinthians 5:20: *Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God*. Just as an ambassador from our country would do nothing to reflect badly on his country and his people, especially while visiting a far off land, so you should all the more strive to make a good impression for the cause of Christ. You are an ambassador for Heaven, living in this old sinful world. When the world looks at your life as a whole, it should make them desire to one day go there to. The only way they will get there is by a personal relationship with Christ, and the only way they may hear about the gospel is through His ambassador. YOU! If they see something different in you, then most likely they will begin to ask you questions. Why don't you drink, smoke, cuss, tell dirty jokes? Why don't you get angry and tell folks what for? Why do you dress differently than other women? Why don't you wear shorts, or pants, or a bathing suit? Why are you always happy and in good spirits (even on bad days)? What makes your life so different from mine? *I see something different in you. What is it?*, the world may ask you.
Julia M. Faulkner
As stated in the introduction to this study, when one becomes a Christian, he also becomes a new creature. The old man leaves, and the new man moves in. In light of this fact you must realize that there will be many changes on the inside. Although not at once, there should be much evidence of the his new life in Christ very soon after he is saved. Hopefully these changes will be reflected on the outside.
You must also be aware that he will never stop growing as a child of God. While many changes take place over the first few years after the adoption into God's family, so long as he is striving to follow God, he will always be growing and changing spiritually. To stop growing, to stop seeking God's way, is a dangerous thing.
On occasion the new Christian will have some difficulty giving up things that were a part of his old life. Music, smoking, drinking, ungodly dress, and numerous other things. Why? Mostly because he does not have good influence, but also because his is not spending time in personal bible study and prayer. James 4:8 *Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.* It is nearly impossible to change our ways of our own accord. There must be a desire to follow God's way. God will help those who trust in Him. Psalm 146:5 *Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.* The new creature, and the seasoned in Christ, must trust God to help him. Hebrews 11:6 *But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.*
As a light to the world (the world being those who are lost and without Christ) every aspect of a Christian is under scrutiny. If the world see's that the life of that new man is no different from before, there is very little chance of him winning those people to Jesus. They will probably make some comment such as, "Why go through all that when the lifestyle of the Christian is not so different from mine?" Worldliness, music, television, immodest dress, bad attitude. These are just a few areas that Christians must be careful about because the world is watching us so closely.
Other Christians, especially the weak or new in Christ, are also watching. Romans 15:1 *We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.* What kind of example are you? Woe unto those who cause a brother or sister in Christ to sin! 1 Corinthians 8:12 *But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.*
On the other hand, let us look on the outside for a time. Do you have the outward symbols of godliness without the inward changes? Beware! lest you one day be found a hypocrite! Do you do things in your home or at work that you would not do in front of your siblings in Christ? God knows, even if nobody else does. He knows (and is the only one who truly can) the heart of every man. Ephesians 6:6 *Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.* Who exactly are you trying to please by your actions, your dress, your attitude? And what of the Pharisee's? They had it backwards. Matthew 23:26 *Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.* Let us make sure that our inside is clean before we attempt to make the outside clean. Matthew 23:28 *Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.* Are you deceiving those around you with the right outward symbols, but a rebellious heart towards God? Are you hiding sinful things in your life from those around you, but put on an act of righteousness in front of them?
Getting back to our outward man, ask yourself this question. If my heart is right with God, and if I'm striving to please God and not man, and if I want everything I do to reflect Christ and glorify God, then are my outward symbols of godliness reflecting these desires?
Why care about how you act, talk, dress; what we read, listen to, or watch; where we go? Two very important verses come to mind. The first is John 14:15 *If ye love me, keep my commandments.*
There are many ways to please God. And He has many commandments. All commandments are for your good. The greatest of these are the ones on love. Matthew 5:44 *But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.* But God also likes for us to give. 2 Corinthians 9:7 *Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.*
I could not begin to list all of the commandments. But be assured that, in the Bible, their is an answer for everything. 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17 *All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.*
The second verse is Matthew 5:16 *Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.* Oh what a responsibility we have to our Father! But why does He care that we glorify Him? 1 Corinthians 6:20 *For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.* Because of the great price of our salvation! A Christian belongs to God. Not just his soul, but his body also. Does your life bring honor and glory to your heavenly Father?
Let's stop for a moment to make a check list. *For what?*, you ask. Ephesians 2:8 & 9 *For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.* Romans 12:3 *For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.* Always remember that without Christ, we would be nothing. That is why it is important to always be humble before God. James 4:6 *But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.* Pride has it's price. Give God the recognition for the change that has taken place, and make sure that people see God and not you! And don't let Satan use you by making you feel proud. Ephesians 4:27 *Neither give place to the devil.*
When you got saved, when you accepted Christ's sacrifice, you agreed to serve and work for Him. Why? Because He SAVED your life! Without His sacrifice you would still be in bondage to sin. So in essence Christ died so that you could be free from being a slave to sin. Romans 8:21 *Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.* You were set free and given liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17 *Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.* Christ defeated death so that you could have life eternal. Romans 8:2 *For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.* 2 Corinthians 1:10: *Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.* Even so, let your heart be filled with the desire to serve and please Him in all things.
How can you do that if you have worldliness and ungodliness in your life? Titus 2:12 *Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.* Does the garden of your life need weeding? What grows there? Gossip, immodest dress, envy, strife, a wagging tongue, unwillingness to submit to your Father, your husband, your pastor, judgment of your brothers and sisters in Christ, ungodly music, television, and books, a spirit of contention?
How about growing some lovely flowers there that will glorify God? When the inside is beautiful, then you won't have a problem with the outside! 1 Peter 3: 1 5 *Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.*
Let your adorning start in the right place. 1 Timothy 2:9 & 10 *In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.*
Let's take a look at two different women. One is ugly on the inside. The other beautiful. Proverb 12:4 *A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.* Proverb 14:1 *Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.* Will you be ugly? Proverb 21:9 *It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.* Proverb 21:19 *It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.* Or will you be beautiful? Proverb 31:10 *Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.* Proverb 31:30 *Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.*
But let's not neglect the outside. Either in action or dress. God does care, and here is why.
The number one reason is that our bodies are the temple, or vessel, of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 & 17 *Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.* How can we be holy when we expose our bodies through immodest dress? How can we be holy when we cannot control our tongue? Matthew 15:18 *But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.* James 1:26 *If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.*
Have you ever read in the Old Testament how that God had specific ways in which He wanted the Tabernacle built and adorned? Why? Because then that is where He dwelt among the people. He did not live within the believer then as He does now. He made His presence known within the confines of the Temple. Back then it was a building. Now that building is the body of the believer. Do you see the comparisons here? Ephesians 2:22 *In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.* God lives through you by the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament He lived in the Temple. If He was so very concerned by the appearance of the Temple, then do you not think He cares equally, or possibly more, about your appearance?
Being aware of this bit of information, you should always be aware of what you put on, what you say, how are act, your attitude, your language, the thoughts and intents of your heart. Does your life reflect that your body and spirit belong to God?
Have you ever thought about the fact that you are a daughter of the King of Kings? Would the daughter of an earthly king act or dress in such a way as to bring shame or dishonor to her father, his kingdom, or his name? Then you should strive all the more to make sure that your life honors the One who sacrificed His very life so that you could have eternal life in Heaven. Ephesians 2:1, 4 6 *And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.*
The world, and other Christians, judge the Lord Jesus by you. You are a representative of Christ. You are a light to the world lost in darkness. Don't hide it! Matt. 5:14 *Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.*
Knowing this, let's look for a moment to Romans 12: 1 & 2. *I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.* It is not unreasonable for God to expect you to act and look different from the rest of the world. It's a matter of choosing who you will serve. Matthew 6:24 *No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.* How can you live to serve the world through Christ, while at the same time you are serving worldly lusts? It is impossible!
Let's go back for a moment to 1 Corinthians 8:12. Are you aware that everything you do has an effect on someone. Be it good or bad. Your gossiping may cause someone else to gossip or harbor ill feelings towards someone. What you wear may make someone lust after your body. Your cheerful generosity may provoke another to the same good work. Your faithful service to Christ may encourage others to serve also. So always be aware that someone (or Someone!) is watching you! Are you walking blameless? Philippians 2:15 *That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.*
How can you keep from being worldly though? Well, it depends on how you spend your time I suppose. When you concentrate on the eternal things of God, then it will be easier to keep your mind off of temporal things. First, look at what happens to the carnally minded Christian. 1 Corinthians 3:2 & 2 *I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?* You will NOT be able to grow spiritually! You will never get passed the baby food to move on to the meat! And the meat is so much more fulfilling! Do you not desire the meat?
Where is your heart? Matthew 6:21 *For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.* Is your treasure in worldly pleasure and comforts? I would ask if you would rather be rich toward God or yourself. Luke 12:21 *So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.*
So, how do you keep worldliness from creeping in? First of all, if the Holy Spirit lives in you, you will need His help. Galatians 5:25 *If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.* Romans 8:14 *For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.* Always let the Spirit lead.
What happens when the Holy Spirit is allowed to lead? Galatians 5:22 & 23 *But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.*
So, what does this mean to you? Here is a quote from Elizabeth Rice Handford: *An earnest Christian woman will keep her body, the external, subject to the Spirit, and servant rather than master.* Let the Spirit lead you in all things. Even the way you dress!
If you know that you should change the way you dress, control your tongue, stop listening to ungodly music, stop watching ungodly TV shows, and you don't do it, you are living in sin! James 4:17 *Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.* And you can expect God to chastise you very soon (if He isn't already!). Hebrews 12:11 *Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.* Harken unto the chastening of your Father!
Colossians 3 is one of the finest examples of how one changes in His walk with Jesus. Make it your goal to follow this example daily. There was an inward change when you became a Christian. Let it be reflected outwardly. God does care.
Colossians 3: 1, 2, 9, 10, 12 18 *If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Christ Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.*
Let us put on the virtues of a Christian, but not neglect to glorify God with our bodies also.
ADDITIONAL REFERENCES IN LIVING A SANCTIFIED LIFE
Julia M. Faulkner
James 4:8: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
How do you draw nigh to God? He has set forth in His word many ways. Keep them in your heart.
2 Timothy 3:16 & 17: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Deut. 11:18: Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
Psalms 119:105: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Philippians 4:6: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
James 5:16: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Colossians 3:2: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Romans 12:10: Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
2 Corinthians 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Colossians 3:8& 9: But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
Matthew 5:16: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
2 Corinthians 4:3: But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
John 14:15: If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 15:10: If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
Matthew 5:44: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Romans 12:13 & 14: Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Ephesians 4:15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
2 Peter 3:18: But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:79: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Ephesians 4:27: Neither give place to the devil.
Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Proverbs 16:25: There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Ephesians 6:11 & 13: Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Romans 8:14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Galatians 5:25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
© 1996 by Julia M. Faulkner, Sonshine Publications