1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.
What do you picture when you think of holiness?
I recall back in my bachelorhood days an incident which help me crystalize how misguided religious and non-religious people classified holy people.
After an afternoon date with someone who was visiting the area for the first time, and before we went our separate ways, she looked at me in a stunning poise. Her words slowly out of her mouth were half being spoken to me and the other half as if she was thinking out loud. Simply paraphrasing, she was amazed that someone who was a baptized believer could have so much fun without harming anyone or doing anything semi-destructive in the process. I was dumbfounded. For me, being a recent follower of Jesus Christ was more exciting than anything I have experienced at that time and I wanted to live it out.
Yet she explained that she grew up in a household where dancing and even playing cards was considered taboo. Where “Christians” didn’t laugh and joke but carried on with serious discussions about life. That life was serious and there was no time for unproductive enjoyment.
I don’t recall my exact reply, but did mutter something about God must be the most enjoyable Being in the universe to hang around and I wanted to be like Him. Maybe I was fortunate to understand early in life that holiness wasn’t just about doing the right thing all the time like God, but being like God.
Think about it. God is holy. Therefore, holiness is the natural characteristic of God. What is God like?
From the natural inclination to express Himself in a loving manner at all times, he does ALL things from a heart of love. Yes, even when He disciplines or reproves us, He does so from a position of love. We may not think so, but like an adult looking back at their childhood, we realize that most of the time our imperfect parents disciplined us for our own good. God does the same.
His holiness includes not only doing the right things at the right time, but also being the person of love. From the position of love, He expresses His holiness with imagination, creativity, and foresight; He plans and executes his work to perfection; He laughs, cries, and even uses humor to illustrate a point. Yes, He is gentle and kind and merciful, but also spanking, chastising, and disciplining those He loves. He is the embodiment of joy and the author of faithfulness and competency.
What you soon realize is holiness contains more than just doing the right thing. It is being fully human by experiencing the divine nature of God. From the divine position, one learns to live life to the fullest without the worldly, imposed conditions. Love, joy, and peace aren’t goals to strive for but the outer expression of Him who lives in us. As we submit to His authority in our lives, we become more and more like Him in character and being. The work is not ours but his. We may put in the effort, but at the end of day we know without Him, the rock we push all day will not move without his cooperation. At the end of day, He is glorified.
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