“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
The Highway of Holiness, by Randall D. Kittle


“I will teach you the fear of the Lord … keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking lies. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry” — Psalm 34:11–15

As I minister to people, I find that fear is a very common problem among believers. Fear seems to play a part in nearly every difficulty, and to be increasing to epidemic proportions. Now, I want you to know you will have fear in your life. However, you have a choice of what kind of fear you will have. You can either have the fear of the Lord — revering the Lord and recognizing Him as holy — or you can have the fear of this world, which is the fear of man, the fear of failure, and on and on. Wisdom dictates we choose the fear of the Lord.

It seems strange that worldly fear is running rampant in the Church when it says in 2 Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” God has not given us fear, He has given us power. That word in Greek is “dunamas,” the dynamite-power of God. He has also given us love. That is the Greek word “agape,” the love of God that is beyond our understanding, a love we cannot really explain in human terms. And then God gives us a sound mind, or as the NIV translates it “self-discipline.” In the Greek that word is “sophronismos,” which literally means “saving the mind,” and signifies commanding our passions, holding the reigns on our desires, being disciplined.

One reason many believers have the fear of the world in their lives is because they have not accepted God’s full three-fold cure. For some things two-out-of-three is not too bad. In basketball, for example, if you made two out of three shots that would be really good — better than Michael Jordan. However, in other areas total obedience is necessary. If you were sick, the doctor might say, “You need to lie in bed and rest for a week, you need to take this medicine four times a day, and you need to place a mustard plaster on your chest every night (like Grandma used to do).” But if you respond “Well, I’m willing to rest in bed, and I’m going to take the pills, but this mustard plaster is out of the question,” you might not recover. The results may depend on doing all three things. And so it is with God’s prescription for overcoming worldly fear. If we really want to be delivered from the spirit of fear, we have to embrace the power of God, say yes to the love of God,
and be willing to be disciplined by God. Unfortunately, being disciplined kind of smacks us like a mustard plaster. “I don’t know if I want that stuck on me!” But that is what is required; it is part of God’s three-fold cure. Those who are sold out for Jesus willingly accept discipline in their lives; the kind of discipline that produces holiness.

Free From Smorgasbord Christianity
It is time for us to embrace all of God and all of His ways. God wants to deliver us from being “Smorgasbord Christians.” When I was a boy, we loved to go to the Sunday smorgasbord after church. However, I am not quite as certain the Top Hat Restaurant was as pleased to see the three Kittle boys come to their “all-you-can-eat-buffet.” Three growing boys can put a big dent in any buffet. As I think back upon it now, I realize that our plates were loaded with roast beef, mashed potatoes, and little else. No vegetables, no fruit, no salads. You see, a smorgasbord allows you to take just what you want, and leave the rest untouched. You don’t have to eat a balanced meal. A smorgasbord Christian does the same with the things of God. They take big helpings of the love of God, the mercy of God, and perhaps a nice slice of His peace. But seldom will you find things like God’s justice or holiness on their plate. God wants to deliver us from smorgasbord Christianity. He wants us to choose all of Him, not just pick and choose the parts we like.

Before going on, let me warn you that this article is not intended for the “skin-of-your-teeth Christians,” those who want to get into heaven by the skin of their teeth, those who want to do just the bare minimum it takes to get to heaven. It is directed toward those who want to press on with God, who really want to receive all they can from God, those who say “I want to be a passionate disciple of Christ, and I don’t want anything to come in the way of my relationship with Him.”

Wouldn’t you love to have the living God of the universe dwell with you, to abide with you all the time? Let us look at the Scriptures and see where He dwells. The Bible says God dwells in
His holy Temple, that He dwells in the holy place, that He dwells in the Holy of Holies, that He dwells on His holy mountain, that He dwells in His holy hill, that He dwells at His holy habitation, that He dwells in holy heaven, at His holy house, in the holy sanctuary, and in His holy city. If we want Him to dwell with us, we too need to be holy!

What is Holiness?
But what is the holiness of God? It is a hard thing to define. We could describe it as purity; but that implies removing things which are impure, similar to pruning, which does not work well for God because He has never had anything He needed to remove! Some have defined holiness as moral excellence. I like that, but it falls far short, for somehow moral excellence involves comparison, me comparing myself to you or vice versa, like grading on the curve. Again that doesn’t quite work either.

Before we get too frustrated trying to define holiness, let me relay a story A. W. Tozer used to show how difficult holiness is to define. It is said that when Leonardo DaVinci painted his famous
Last Supper, he had little difficulty with any of it except the faces. Then he painted the faces in without much trouble except one. He did not feel himself worthy to paint the face of Jesus. He held off and kept holding off, unwilling to approach it but knowing he must. Then in the impulsive carelessness of despair, he just painted it quickly and let it go. “There is no use,” he said. “I can’t paint Him.”

It is very much the same when trying to define the holiness of God. There isn’t any use for anybody to try to explain holiness. I don’t believe it is possible to actually define holiness. It is like defining God — you can describe Him, but you cannot truly define Him. The greatest speakers on the subject of holiness could wax eloquent for hours, but in the end all they said would still be shallow and superficial compared to the holiness of God.

Biblical Holiness
One way to get some understanding of holiness is to see what the Bible says about holiness and being holy. If we were to look up the words “holy” and “holiness” in an exhaustive concordance, we would see they are found throughout the Bible. In fact, the Scripture writers describe the character of God as holy much more often than they describe God as love. We are very quick to say that God is love, and He is, but if you read the Scriptures, they point to holiness first and foremost as His preeminent characteristic.

Exodus 15:11 says
“Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you — majestic in your holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” The phrase “majestic in your holiness” literally means holiness is God’s “crowning feature.”

Another portion of the Bible that gives us a glimpse of God’s holiness is the throne room experiences in the sixth chapter of Isaiah and the fourth chapter of Revelation. What do the worshiping creatures proclaim?
“Holy, Holy, Holy.” They declare this for all eternity past and future. God’s holiness is exclaimed three times. Some believe this is because of the tri-une nature of our God. They are actually saying “Holy are you Father, Holy are you Son, and Holy are you Spirit of God.” Others believe the three-fold declaration of God’s holiness is because scripturally you accept something by the word of three witnesses. So they are witnessing three times to the holiness of God. Whatever the reason, the throne of God is resplendent with the sound of creation declaring His holiness.

1 Peter 1:14–15 says “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all that you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” If we want to be obedient to God, we have got to get away from our evil passions, those sinful desires that still cling to us after we are first born again. God is holy, and He is calling His people to be holy. It is both His desire for us and His commandment to us.

A Different Driver
When I first became a believer, I understood God’s desire for me to be holy. So I made a mental list of “Do’s and Don’ts” and tried to measure up. Starting in the Spirit, I finished in the flesh by returning to the old way of the written code. But it didn’t work very well, because I was trying to put holiness on from the outside. As soon as I would think of something I should avoid, it would be the only thing in the world I could think about. Romans 7 tells us that the law arouses sinful passions. Legalism causes us to desire and have our thoughts drawn to exactly what it is forbidding. Paul writes about his experience with this in the book of Romans, “… the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15,19). Legalism won’t work. The law merely stirs up sin! What we need is a different driver, or as Paul calls it, “the new way of the Spirit” (Romans 7:6).

When our church office got a new computer printer, we unplugged our old printer and plugged in our new laser printer. After making certain the printer cable was correctly connected between the computer and the printer, I pulled up our word processing program, typed a few letters on a document, and punched the print button to send it to be printed. Quick as a flash it started printing, and printing, and printing. It printed about six pages from the three letters I had typed on the screen, all of which looked to me like they were written in Czechoslovakian. I soon realized what was going on. I had not installed the new printer drivers. What the computer was trying to use to communicate with the printer was the old driver — the old way — and this couldn’t make the printer work properly. It just created a big mess.

Now, as I look back, I understand that when I was trying to walk in holiness when I first believed, I too had the wrong driver. I was trying to make a new life using the old way. I was trying to put on holiness from the outside like a stodgy straitjacket. It will never work that way because holiness is an inside job. I was not using the
“new way of the Spirit” — waiting until the Holy Spirit was filling me with so much that it was easily worked out in a changed life. God wants to love and strengthen us to do what He wants instead of us struggling with legalism. We cannot just choose or decide we are going to be holy and just do it. God has got to do it. It is God who wants us pure in the first place, and He will fill us with His pure love on the inside until it flows out bringing new life, if we let it.

The Wave Theory
God empowers His “new way of the Spirit” by pouring out “new waves of His Spirit!” In physics there is a “Wave Theory” that helps us understand some of the properties of light. I believe there is also a “Spiritual Wave Theory” that can help us understand some of the ways the Spirit of God moves upon the earth. This Spiritual Wave Theory says that God moves in waves — He pours out His Spirit in great power and then it seems like there is a lull, and then once again He pours out His Spirit in great power. Spiritual outpourings seem to come wave after wave. As the end of the age approaches, I believe the waves are getting closer together and becoming stronger.

Why does God work in these waves? What is His purpose for them? There are three things He is trying to accomplish, to work in us, with each spiritual outpouring. God is empowering us so we can both change and touch this world. He is bringing maturity to the body of Christ — helping us come into the fullness of Jesus Christ. He is purifying the Church because at the end of the age Jesus Christ is returning for a bride without spot or wrinkle. Jesus is not returning for His bride until every spot of sin and every wrinkle that is not pleasing to God has been removed.

From Dry Land to Highway of Holiness
If we want to see how a “wave of the Spirit” works, we can look at the charismatic renewal some forty years ago as an example. In his writings on the charismatic renewal, Judson Cornwall shares what a blessing it was, and then goes on to say why he does not think it continued or had quite the full effect God wanted it to.

He believes that Isaiah 35 is a picture of God’s desire for His spiritual waves of renewal.
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy …” (Isaiah 35:1–2). The charismatic renewal broke forth just like that. It erupted in standard mainline denominational churches — Lutherans, Methodists, and eventually in the Catholic Church. What had been dry, thirsty places where the presence of God was remembered but no longer felt, suddenly became like a refreshing spring. There was much rejoicing and joy. People were speaking in tongues and being overwhelmed by the Spirit.

“The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong and do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.’ Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy …” (Isaiah 35:2–6). There was a wave of healing and miracles which accompanied the charismatic renewal. People began to be miraculously healed. “Water will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs …” (Isaiah 35:6–7). The charismatic renewal flowed and affected others, helping revive some of the Pentecostal churches and sparking things in other places.

“In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there; it will be called the highway of holiness …” (Isaiah 35:7–8). This is where Judson Cornwall said the difficulty arose for the charismatic renewal. When they got to the place were the highway of holiness was supposed to come and they were supposed to go out, some did, but many did not. Many just wanted to stay and receive the blessing, but not let it work into their lives the holiness God wanted. The charismatic renewal had a diminished effect compared to what God wanted and waned more quickly than God desired because there was not the embracing of holiness God was trying to work in. The highway of holiness was the destination God had for His people on this spiritual journey, but many aborted the mission — terminated it before it was completed.

Why does God want us to travel on His highway of holiness?
“The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in the Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isaiah 35:8–10). When I read that I was overwhelmed. “Gladness and joy will overtake them.” God says that if we will walk on the highway of holiness, gladness and joy will overtake us. The word “overtake” is the same word used for a person coming up behind you to mug you. As you walk on the highway of holiness, gladness and joy are going to run after you and capture you. There is no lion nor wild beast there — nothing to threaten us when we walk on the highway of holiness. God wants us to have a life so holy that we are in a place of immunity from the enemy’s attack because we are walking in holiness.

Pursuing Holiness
The highway of holiness was the path God originally created for man to travel. Holiness is how God created us to be, and He wants to recreate holiness in our lives. He does this by pouring out His refreshing presence. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says “May the God who gives us peace make you holy …” Notice who makes you holy, “the God who gives you peace.” That is the game plan of God. He comes in the power of the renewal, and the peace of God starts to rule in your heart, which is to make you holy. This verse goes on to say “… holy in every way and keep your whole being spirit, soul, and body — free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is a rather inclusive verse: to be holy in every way … that our whole being is to be holy … free from every fault. Perhaps you think I am setting the standards pretty high. What did Jesus say? “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The highway of holiness is God’s path to perfection.

Am I saying that if you have “unholy” things in your life God does not love you? NO! God loves you just the way you are. If the latest move of God has not taught us anything else, it certainly has revealed that God loves us just as we are! But, the flip side is God loves you too much to leave you just the way you are! He loves you too much to not be able to fully embrace you. He embraces you as you are, but He wants to embrace you totally, and He cannot embrace your sin. God wants us to be wholly holy, so He can fully embrace us — nothing held back!

So in what areas do we need purity? Everything! Our language — which means some need to lay down profanity, our tongues — which means some need to put away gossip, our behavior — which means some need to leave behind drinking, our habits — which means some need to give up smoking. Before we start making a list and falling back into legalism, let me share with you the key to traveling down the highway of holiness.

To travel on any highway you need a vehicle, a vehicle with power. The Holy Spirit is the only power that can safely move us down the highway of holiness. The vehicle He empowers is our willingness to let Him rule our lives, which happens when we let Holy Spirit derived convictions regulate our behavior. The question we must ask if we are serious about pursuing holiness is this:
“Am I willing to develop convictions from the Scriptures, and to live by these convictions?” Not dead, lifeless laws — but Spirit-led convictions!

We develop conviction by allowing the Holy Spirit to bring the Scriptures to bear on specific situations that arise in our lives, and then determining God’s will in that situation from the Word. Many issues of life are clearly addressed in the Bible, and we would do well to know the verses that speak to those issues. For example, God’s will concerning honesty is plainly spelled out:
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). His will concerning abstinence from sexual immorality also is clearly revealed: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). These are clearly stated issues where we should have no difficulty developing convictions as to God’s will if we are willing to obey His Word.

Developing Spirit-led Convictions
But what about issues that are not specifically mentioned in the Scriptures? How do we determine God’s will and develop conviction in those areas? A few years ago I came across a biblical formula for how to know right from wrong. The formula asks four questions based on three verses from 1 Corinthians.

• Question 1: Is it helpful — physically, spiritually, and mentally?
“‘Everything is permissible for me’ — but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

• Question 2: Does it bring me under its power?
“‘Everything is permissible for me’ — but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

• Question 3: Does it hurt others?
“Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall” (1 Corinthians 8:13).

• Question 4: Does it glorify God?
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”(1 Corinthians 10:31).

As simple as these questions may appear, they are powerful in developing conviction if we are willing to use them. These questions can get rather searching. But they must be asked if we are to pursue the path of holiness God has for us.

Let’s apply these principles to some typical situations. Take the television programs you watch, for example.
“Are they helpful physically, spiritually, or mentally?” For some programs the answer may be yes, but for those to which you must honestly answer no, you should consider not viewing them.

What about the question,
“Does it bring me under its power?” You may instantly apply that question to such habits as drinking, taking drugs, or smoking, and think it does not apply to you. But again, what about the television set? Has a certain program “grabbed” you so that you just cannot miss it? Does Thursday night revolve around Survivor? Are you unable to visit a small group or Bible study on Tuesday unless you make certain “your show” is being recorded? If so, that program has brought you under its power. Anything that has a grip on your life has become an idol and become sinful. It may not be a “bad thing,” but if it has a grip on you, it is ensnaring your walk of purity so get rid of it!

Let’s examine the next question,
“Does it hurt others?” Paul clearly defines this difficulty when he is looking at eating meat sacrificed to idols. “For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall” (1 Corinthians 8:10–13).

Our liberty is never license to cause a brother to stumble. The difficulty is we may not know who is struggling in what area. We may have no difficulty hanging around in a bar after work with some friends, believing God will use us in this situation to reach them. (I personally don’t believe this is an effective way of trying to reach the lost.) But what of our weak brother who struggles, and upon seeing us believes it must be OK for him too, and soon stumbles? This is the problem when we justify our freedom and try to get by at the lowest acceptable level. While we are feeling satisfied with our walk, how many others are we causing to stumble because we have not taken the highest way — the way that would have kept them from temptation. Why not have the highest calling on your life, and keep yourself far from causing any brother to stumble?

The fourth question is
“Does it glorify God?” When I talk with believers about issues of holiness I believe God is calling them to embrace, most of them respond by quickly trying to biblically prove why their activity is permissible for them. The Scriptures say if something is a controversial issue, we should do whatever we do “for the glory of God.” “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). I talked with one woman about smoking, believing God wanted to set her free. It had obviously brought her under its power, but she was unwilling to admit it. I shared with her 1 Corinthians 10:31, and said, “The next time you light up a cigarette, just look up and say “I’m lighting this one for You, God!” I had a similar discussion with a friend who thought that drinking with their friends was going to help make Christianity “real” to them. Again I replied, “The next time in the bar, lift up your frosty mug and proclaim ‘This Bud’s for You!” Obviously, much that we try to hang on to is far from glorifying to God.

You may be able to justify many behaviors you are struggling with scripturally, but my question to you would be “why are you justifying them?” Justification is saying “I have a right!” But God says “You don’t have the right, you gave Me all your rights a long time ago! Lay those things down and get rid of them.” Jesus said,
“Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33). We must honestly face the question, ‘Am I willing to give up a certain practice or habit that is keeping me from holiness?” It is at this point of commitment that most of us fail. We prefer to play with sin a little, trying not to get too deeply involved. We have the “just-one-more-time” syndrome: we will take just one more lustful look, eat just one more rich dessert before starting our diet, watch just one more television program before reading our Bible. In all of this we are postponing our commitment to finally say to sin, “Enough!” We will be obedient, we are just delaying our obedience a bit. Well, delayed obedience is not obedience at all — it is disobedience!

What About Freedom
I can hear the cry of many “But, Randy, what about freedom?” God has given you freedom, and the freedom He has given you is the freedom to become a Christian; to become like Christ. This is what freedom is all about, being free from worldly ways and being free to reveal Jesus.

Never mistake God’s mercy for freedom. Perhaps when you were born again you struggled with smoking. Yet, God didn’t seem to be upset with you about it. This doesn’t mean you have the freedom to smoke for the rest of your life. It is God’s mercy. His mercy will cover you until one day, after He has shown you how much He loves you, He will come to you with an anointing to break that yoke and set you free. Don’t miss that opportunity by thinking God has given you the freedom to live your life your old way. It doesn’t matter if you feel ready. If God is coming with His anointing it is time to take the step. Steps of obedience are important. Each time we obey the Lord, it becomes easier for us to obey the Lord the next time. Unfortunately, when we disobey the Lord it also becomes easier to disobey Him. If you seem to be struggling on your journey on the highway of holiness, keep being obedient. It will unfold, it will slowly unfurl before you as you continue to walk those things out.

Purity Proceeds Power
God has been pouring out a mighty wave of His Spirit all across the earth. It has brought refreshing, joy, and knowing we are loved by God. God desires that His outpouring not only bring springs to the desert, but also produces a highway of holiness for those who walk in the Way. This highway of holiness will be a place of immunity and the pathway of purity for the saints. It is very important to be pure, for purity proceeds power. Remember, each wave of the Spirit is more powerful, and God wants us to be able to handle the next more powerful wave of His power.

God keeps removing our impurities because He wants to give us more power. You see, God’s highway of holiness is not only the pathway to purity, it is the path to receiving more of His power! If you take a copper cable with a lot of impurities in it and run high-voltage electricity through it, the impurities burn off being vaporized by the power. It has only been the mercy of God that He has not given us the power we have been crying out for. We pound our fists on the altar crying out for more power, and God has been saying “I have given you all you can handle. You were nine volts, and now I have you up to 24 volts.” We cry out “God give us 220V,” but if He gave us 220V, we would be toast. There would be nothing left of us. God wants to give us more power, but he first must remove the impurities that hinder its flow.

H & R Block
The highway of holiness is a place where Satan has no ability to hinder our journey. The only blockade on this highway is our unwillingness to continue to travel on it. When we fail to be obedient to the Spirit’s leading to be holy, to remove anything He desires, we exit God’s holy highway. Only those with humble repentant hearts will be able to travel on the highway of holiness.

A while back the Lord spoke to me,
“My church is taxed because of H & R block.” We, God’s people, are the church. We are being “taxed.” Taxed can mean giving up a percentage, being tired, being worn down, or not able to have all that we have earned. And why are we taxed? We are taxed because of H & R block. The “H” stands for humility, and the “R” represents repentance. We need to humbly repent of anything the Holy Spirit brings up in our lives that hinders us on our journey. This is the only way to keep moving on the highway of holiness.

Dear saint, you were created in the image of God; created to be holy. Are there things the Holy Spirit has been trying to remove from your life that are obstacles on your journey? If so, don’t just ask God to give you the power to overcome them. Come to Him in humble repentance, “Lord, I repent from being involved in that. I repent. I lay it down and choose to turn from it.” Ask forgiveness for holding on to any worldly things that have not allowed God to be as close to you as He has wanted. The Lord has loved us so much and blessed us so abundantly. Let us cast off every hindrance, gladly journey on His highway of holiness, and be His holy people.

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