That You Should Be Holy
As we explore who God is and what He has allowed us to know about Him, the issue of holiness quickly surfaces. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, holiness in regard to God, “denotes perfect purity or integrity of moral character, one of His essential attributes.” In Exodus 15:11 Moses proclaims to the Lord “Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” Rightly so. This is wonderful but it does raise the question of how can we attain to such holiness, which incredibly the Scriptures call us to do (Rom 12:1; 14:17; Eph 1:4)?
Most of us will understand that any form of holiness is gained for us by the work Christ did on the cross. Without this, any pursuit of holiness is in vain. But it doesn’t stop there as the above verses show. We are called to be holy, display holiness and work it out in our lives. On one level we can never “be there” but on another level we must at least be in the river and going with the flow of holy, righteous living, not fighting or trying to swim against the current.
One of the key issues that challenge our holiness is that most of us like to be in control, whereas God seems to look for and respond to, our vulnerability. Most of us have developed the ability to hide and self-protect, like Adam and Eve hiding in the garden. But this doesn’t help our pursuit of holiness. A good percentage of what we learn on our journey with the Lord comes from failure, humiliation and suffering. Consider this when exploring the lives of those in the Scriptures – Joseph is a classic example. As hard and uninviting as these times are – they allow us to go to a deeper place in Christ.
I want to suggest that holiness comes more from a state of mind than it does from any physical actions. I love the way Mother Teresa put it when she said,
We are called to be contemplatives in the heart of the world by seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, everywhere, all the time, and seeing His hand in every happening.
Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and the distressing disguise of the poor.
This is well expressed in the song by Michael W. Smith which is called “I See You.” The words really call us to see the image of the Lord everywhere. I particularly think of this when I am out in the open air viewing the flowers, trees, bees etc. Let me ask you – are you in awe of God’s greatness? Does it overwhelm you at times? Does it cause you just to get lost in worship of Him? True holiness requires us to be God-conscious in every circumstance of life. It begins by causing us to dwell on the great and awesome realities of who He is and what He has made. What makes this more incredible is the place He has put us, in the context of all of this (Heb 2:6-8).
It is from this that our expression of holiness arises. It is a total commitment to God – an expression of our gratitude and us giving our all to Him because He gave His all for us. In Psalm 116:12 we read that David asks,
What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me?
I love this question. It is not trying to earn anything. It is a deep expression of gratitude and a desire to give back in any way possible. It is at this point that holiness kicks in. We want our whole life, not just some parts of it, to reflect God’s holiness. This holiness should permeate our every activity. It is wrong to view some activities as being holy, like prayer; bible reading; worship; and others as been secular, like going to work; playing sport and watching movies. The Apostle Paul refuted this common misconception by saying that to the holy all things are holy (Titus 1:15). If you are not doing any (every) activity in a holy or righteous way, you need to change your behavior.
So, exalting Christ in every way and every aspect of life should be our earnest desire and constant endeavor. Failure to do this misses the whole concept of holiness. May you discover God’s holiness in your life all over again in the weeks to come.
God bless you,