If you go to church with me I bet when you saw, "skinny jeans", you thought of Pastor Tim because he loves to wear them. In our weekly staff meetings, we always begin with a devotion and worship of some sort. Not only, to keep us encouraged but also to dive deeper and to study theology to make sure we are all on the same track. While I am not much for meetings, I get so much out of our devotion time. It is always what I need to hear and I always learn something! We watched a Seven Minute Seminary video by speaker Miriam Swaffield. She introduced us to biblical holiness, not as white skinny jeans, but as God’s gift and invitation to carry his transforming presence with us everywhere in the world. When you wear white skinny jeans, you are more cautious. You don’t want to do the wrong thing in them like spill something on them or sit on something dirty. Holiness is not wearing the white and keeping it clean. Holiness is the bleach that cleans and transforms. Holiness is the essence of God. We were reminded that, after all, God’s first name is “Holy”, Holy Spirit.
Immediately, I thought back to when I wrote my first book. When people heard I had written a faith based book, some people acted very different towards me. Some even seemed uncomfortable. I kept thinking, I am the same person that I was last week! I remember a former pastor’s spouse thanked me for inviting them to my 50th birthday party because they usually do not get invited because they are the preacher!
“Holy” or “holiness” gets a bad rap sometimes. As someone said in a staff meeting, the word, “holy”, sets the bar too high for many people. Some people think of “holier than thou”. People’s expectations of holiness means “right” living. “Right” living is not what we have to do when we are holy, it is what we want to do when we are holy. Leviticus 20: 26, “You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.” God gives us grace for our “real” living. I cannot live “right” but I can try harder each day to live right. Everyday I can renew my holiness through God. As someone else said, we may not be holy but we have something - and that something is Jesus. And that is what people see and want. We want our lives to pleasing and holy for God.
What does it mean to be holy? I used to think it meant to be pure and that is impossible for us. Yet, God told us to be holy. Leviticus 11: 44, “ I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground.” Leviticus 19: 1-2, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.’” To be holy means to be “set apart”. We are called to distance ourselves from sin and impurity. We do not have to follow a list of rules to be holy. We are not perfect people and never will be. When we seek God, we are made holy. We want the Holy Spirit to be at home in us. We must not worry about white, skinny jeans. Instead, think more about standing in the presence of God. When we seek God, He does the work. He makes us holy. 1 Peter 1: 15, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”
God is looking for some people who are set apart for His use. He knows who those people are because He chose us. Ephesians 1: 4, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love.” And He called us to be holy for His purpose. 2 Timothy 1: 9, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…” Remember, we are not better, we just have Jesus!! Let the holiness of God do the work through you! Share the love you have for Jesus and you will spill some bleach for others. Go, be Holy!