Very good points brethren! Thanks for the great replies!Here is another thought to add to this discussion.Matthew 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,I believe we are to be transformed by the spirit of truth through the Word of God. We have to keep our body and spirit from being defiled. We are to be of a good reputation before others. But why do some strive as well as teach others to become more like the pharisees in Matthew chapter 23 than in following Jesus to walk in love as he gave himself a sacrifice for others. I could tell you quite a few stories that I have seen through the years about people striving to be so holy outward and striving to appear so holy to others. They became legalistic and love themselves and their so called relationship with the Lord more than they truly enjoyed a true relationship with the Lord. We need a relationship with the Lord that truly touches other people with His radiant love and true holiness. This is where God has shown me not to major on the outward man or the outward appearance but to major on the inward man and to learn modesty that leads to modest apparel that really comes from the inward man. This has lead me to believe that we shouldn't strive to be strange or so pious in our outward appearance as to want people to persecute us or talk about for these things but rather that they talk about us for our love for sinners and wanting to see people truly saved, healed, and blessed in the Lord.
Jesus could be a friend to the sinner (a human being), without partaking of the same spiritual source (being a friend of the Devil) that they partook of. He never compromised His holiness. Holiness is separation. If you are partaking of the Evil one you are not separate.You have been separated unto God to partake of His nature and to feed on Him (abiding in Christ). You cease to be separate when you turn away from the Lord and partake of Satan (feed on him). To turn away from the Lord is to abide in Satan. You cannot stay neutral and abide in yourself. It is the presence of the Lord in our lives that makes us holy (separate). If you don't have His presence abiding in you then it follows that you will not be walking in separateness (holiness). Being separate is a spiritual position first that will manifest in the physical, in thought, words and action. Pilgrim
No doubt we must be very cautious of preoccupations or misdirected efforts to effect the outside of the cup vs the inside, but the more I try to distance myself from what the world desires to draw me into (its day to day concerns), the more I realize the necessity of Christ's soldiers to exercise true spiritual discernment concerning our efforts. How do I waste my time on matters that I am not to be associated with? 2nd Timothy 2:4 speaks to not being entangled in worldly affairs as it draws us away from our true service to our Lord. So where do we get drawn in when our flesh is allowed freedom?
Very good points Lylewise, Deadn, and others also!Mark 11:13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.Here is a very interesting observation concerning the Lords treatment of the fig tree that appeared to have fruit. He found nothing but leaves for the time of figs was not yet, so He cursed it, so no one would ever be able to get any fruit from it.This seems to me that the Lord is illustrating that He hates hypocrisy and the outward appearance of righteousness with no inner fruit that is to be a blessing to others.