A couple of Summers ago, a country band named Florida Georgia Line recorded a song that went to the top of the charts. It is called “Holy- High On Loving You.” It’s a cute play on words but oh what an abuse of that word. The song is a celebration of a love that changes a person’s life and it borrows a whole lot of Christian themes while missing the point of HOLY, altogether! Too many of us misunderstand ‘holy’ believing it is only about pastors or church buildings or special days. “Holy” is the high calling of every person who belongs to Christ Jesus.
Yesterday, my sermon was from Isaiah 6, the preacher’s vision of God that transformed his life! The angelic beings in his visions chanted this phrase about God, the Almighty: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3, NIV) What is ‘holy’ anyway? The most basic meaning is ‘other.’ God is holy in that He is apart from His Creation, unique, special. He is not ‘like’ anything we know, a Person who so pure, so powerful, so indescribable that we have a word for Him – Holy!
Now here is the interesting part for us today. “As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.” You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living. Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.” (1 Peter 1:15-17, The Message)
A person in a Bible study I was leading recently made us laugh when she said, in all seriousness, that ‘holy’ was something only an older person could become. Was she right? Can we only become the unique possession of God who are dedicated to His purposes with advancing age? I suppose it is easier to say ‘no’ to temptation, at least of some kinds, when you’re 60 rather than 16.
But, God’s invitation to live a holy life is not just for men or women, young or old, rich or poor. When Jesus came to earth with the Good News of God and His peace, He also revealed a new kindness of thought about ‘holiness.’ No longer do we need a Temple, for we become His Temples. No longer do we think of ‘holy days,’ because every day belongs to God. No longer is there a select priesthood among people, for all of God’s people are called to be filled with Spirit, ‘holy priests!’
Yes, friend, you and I are to like Him: select, unique, and called into holy service! “Come to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by the people, but he is precious to God who chose him. And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5, NLT) Does this calling to be God’s holy people mean that we have to wear dark colors, a serious look on our faces, and live in isolated communities of like-minded people? No, true holiness is a change of heart, a life given to Christ Jesus completely, with no greater love than to do the Father’s will.
God invites us to become ‘living sacrifices’ who reflect that we belong to God – all the time, everywhere. How that works out in everyday life is uniquely a reflection of God’s work in us individually. Whatever your gifts and abilities become a means of worshipping Him and you can use those gifts to display your devotion to Him by dedicated them to His purposes, that is, making them ‘holy.’
Are you dividing your life into what is ‘holy’ and what is ‘secular?’ For the Christian no day, no place, no person is more holy than the next. Every moment is a holy one lived in God’s Presence. Everyone of us is a priest whose life offers up sacrificial worship and whose words offer grace to those in need. And, every place on earth we go, we can make into a sanctuary for His worship!
Here’s a word from the Word to ponder today – “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” (Ephesians 4:21-24, NLT)
Make us holy, Lord, people who belong to You,
People who love Your purposes,
Willing to let go of Self and those things that are not
Create a pure heart, a life of love, and show off
the radiance of Jesus’ beauty through me today. Amen