Some of us were an absolute mess when the Lord saved us and changed our lives. Some were drug dealers, thieves, liars, morally good but spiritually lost, and so many other things. Then there is the group who appeared to be so good on the outside but were secret devils behind closed doors. You know the type. Every single individual who had not yet received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior was a mess and bound for hell when he got saved, delivered, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost.
Over the years I have heard many of the Saints of God testify that “Holiness saved my life”. Admittedly, I often thought that they meant that Holiness saved their souls. But as I think back upon my own life I now understand what they meant. They said their “lives” and that’s what they meant.
In the Holiness faith, we believe that it is mandatory that all followers live by the Word of God. Sin is rejected and living in a way that is pleasing to God is required. No one stands over the followers of Holiness, beating them over the head if they step over the line into sin. True, a good Pastor prays for and reminds his members frequently of God’s requirements, but ultimately, it is an individual’s decision to live holy. The disciplined and overcoming life that each Saint of God lives is done so because we love our Lord and Savior who hung bled and died for us and we are grateful to Almighty God who chose to give us a right to the Tree of Life. It is a joy for us to live for God, according to His Holy Ordinances. Those who live according to the teachings of Holiness know that we are simply living according to God’s standards. Therefore, no matter what the denomination, all Christians are required to live Holy. God said in 1Peter 1:16 (KJV):
Be ye holy, for I am holy.
Those of us who live holy have a secret weapon whose name is the Holy Ghost and we are trying our best to reveal this secret to anyone who will listen. It’s the Holy Ghost that makes the difference. When we even approach the line between right and wrong the Holy Ghost sends out a warning signal that lets us know that we are approaching the line between holy and unholy. I thank God for having received the Holy Ghost in the way that the Bible says that we should receive it. It gives us the power to live holy:
Acts 1:8 (KJV)
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth
It was promised to all who would receive it:
Acts 2:39 (KJV)
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
And we are told what the evidence of its arrival would be:
Acts 2:4 (KJV)
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
I have a personal deliverance story about how the Holy Ghost can not only save your soul, but your natural life as well.
In June 1963, I graduated from High School and that Fall I went to a HB College (Historically Black College) in Texas, Prairie View A&M. (I later graduated from UT in Austin, but my first year of college was spent at PV). At that time there were four students in each dorm room. I was the Freshman, and my roommates were in their Sophomore, Junior and Senior years of college. They loved to tease me and often called me the baby of the group because I did not drink or smoke. My senior roommate was “wise in the ways of the world” and smoked like a train. She looked so elegant to me that I desired to be like her. I decided that when I went home for Spring Break I would teach myself to smoke so that I could be just like her. By the time I returned to campus after the break I was smoking and very hooked on nicotine. I looked and acted as though I had been smoking for years! I accomplished what I wanted because my roommates no longer called me the baby but I had started a nicotine addiction that was to last for the next ten years! I was not only a smoker but as time evolved, I had grown into an individual with a 1-2 pack a day habit. Later, after graduation from College, I was married. My mother-in-law smoked Salem cigarettes and, because I wanted her to like me, her cigarettes became my cigarettes of choice. She and I reinforced each other’s smoking habits because it gave us a certain “bond”. Around that time cigarette smoking started to decrease in popularity for health care professionals. I wanted to quit but I was “bound”. My mother was a severe Asthmatic and I came to realize that my lungs were at risk.
In 1975 I went to the Schick Institute to a Smoking Cessation Program. I paid $500 to join the Smoking Aversion Therapy Program. One of their tactics was to have you sit in a small room in front of a mirror. Each time you took a drag on the cigarette you would receive a small electric shock. They did other things such as have you sit in a smoke-filled room, smoking your favorite type of cigarettes, leaning over a plastic-enclosed #2 tub that was filled with hundreds of old cigarette butts. The plastic around you and the tub intensified and concentrated the stink of old tobacco. It was so nauseating! By the third day of the two-week program I was ready to quit…not smoking, but the program. But something miraculous happened to me that week. One of the questions on the application for the program was related to your reasons for wanting to stop smoking. I wrote “It is inconsistent with my Christian beliefs”. I believe that God answered the cry of my heart to stop smoking because I was a believer who was trapped in the awful bond of destroying my own body and I couldn’t get out.
I was invited to attend a Holiness church, which is my current church in Dallas, Full Gospel Holy Temple. I gave my heart to the Lord that night and my whole life changed. I had great joy, but I didn’t fully realize all that God had done for me that night. The day after my salvation I went back to complete the Schick Program. Over the next few sessions, when all of the participants talked about their cravings, I knew that I didn’t have any of those problems. We were given little rubber bands to wear on our wrists to “snap” ourselves whenever we had a craving for cigarettes. I never had to use mine. My instructors thought that I was a “Schick Center poster child” and I did too. I went to church and started to rant to my friends about the greatness of the Schick Center program when one of them said Stop! Think back! When did you get saved? As I thought back I became instantly aware that my deliverance happened at the altar. My release from cigarettes had nothing to do with that program. My deliverance from cigarettes happened when I got saved. That was in 1975, over 41 years ago. I have not smoked or desired to smoke another cigarette since that day. God totally and completely delivered me from that bondage. I am able to say that Holiness saved my life because, had I continued to smoke at the rate that I was smoking, if I were not dead from its effects by now, in all likelihood I would be headed in that direction.
Cigarette smoking is a health-destroying, life-threatening addiction that can be as tough to break as a cocaine addiction. I have seen individuals with severe lung disease attached to an oxygen tank with a cigarette in their lips. My own sweet brother had to have a heart transplant due to his years of addiction to nicotine. Although he was able to stop smoking in order to receive a new heart, he died a few years later as a result of lung cancer.
So you see why I am able to say that Holiness saved my life? Yes, I am on my way to heaven, but I can say that I am enjoying my smoke-free trip. Jesus saves to the uttermost and I love Him and thank Him every day for my deliverance. God does care about how we treat our bodies and He will not hold us blameless if we defile or destroy it.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (KJV)
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
God wants to deliver all who are bound. Jesus can and will set you free if you ask Him. He has already done the work of taking thirty-nine stripes upon His back for your healing. Then He died and rose again for your deliverance from sin. Now it is up to you. No matter what you are bound by, the blood of Jesus is strong enough to break every chain. Want deliverance? Get saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. You can even come to the same church that I attend for your deliverance. The headquarters church is located at 39727 LBJ in Dallas, TX. Can’t get to Dallas? We have several churches all over the country. Give us a call at 972 572-3448 and we will direct you to the one closest to you. Our pastor is Apostle H.L. Murray, Jr. and the First lady is Lady Daniele Murray. We love you in the Lord and look forward to seeing you. May God bless you.