Is it a word that makes you cringe? Does it make you feel overwhelmed or intimidated? If you are anything like me, then thinking of holiness brings out the perfectionist mentality in my personality.
But does holiness really equate to perfectionism? A word study of the root meanings of "holy" led me down an altogether different path.
"It is a snare to imagine that God wants to make us perfect specimens of what He can do; God's purpose is to make us one with Himself." Oswald Chambers
What is God's purpose for our lives?
To be holy - set apart, consecrated, devoted, completely HIS. It's not so much about behavior, but belonging.
In Deuteronomy 14:2, God called the Israelites to be consecrated because they were His treasured possession. The church has a similar calling, as described by Peter: we are a chosen people...and as such we ought to be holy. Remember though that holy does not mean perfect; holiness is being set apart for God's purposes.
The things in the temple were set apart for God, for specific purposes, but if you think about it, these inanimate objects had no ability to actually do something great for God. They were simply available for His use.
Thinking of myself as an inanimate object sounds a little degrading, but I must realize that all my efforts to look holy/perfect do not glorify God. God is not after perfect Christians who stand out in a museum of holiness; no, He is looking for people who are in perfect relationship with Him, who live in oneness with His purposes. "I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives, not admiration for myself" Oswald Chambers adds. A focus on perfect behavior leads to personal glorification whereas a focus on loving Jesus brings all eyes to the Savior.
My question is this: are you ready to stop trying to do everything you think you're "supposed" to do in order to please God, and start offering your life up to be used by God?
It begins with our heart - a heart fully devoted to Him, a heart falling hopefully in love with Him and surrendering all to the Love of our lives. When our hearts are submitted to His will, He can begin to use us for His glory.
And now, if you heart is wholly His, does He have your ears as well? Are you listening for His voice? Are you ready for His call? Like the sheep in John 10, do you know that beloved voice and do you respond readily to it?
Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.
And now that we've moved past our hearts to our ears, we must take the next step and give Him our feet and hands as well - following Him wherever He leads.