As I flipped through my Bible, thumbing pages, waiting for God to speak to me, I came across 1 Peter 1:13 – 2:10. The topical context says “Be Holy.” I was inclined to read the text that most of us are familiar with. The passage of scripture starts out with these instructions to being holy.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action (get ready, don’t procrastinate); be self-controlled (have some discipline); set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed (don’t lose focus. God is still the recipient for Glory). As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you DO. For it is written: Be holy, because I am holy.”
As I read this, God began to speak. For those of you who do not know me, I was raised in the church. I am what one would call a P.K. also known as a “Preacher‘s Kid.” Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know…all P.K.’s are rebels and live secret lives, right? WRONG. I was actually one of the P.K.’s that wanted to know God – outside of my parent’s making me go to church. I’ve always been different and even though I was raised in apostolic fellowship and was taught about holiness, I knew that there had to be more to the concept of holiness than the teachings I received.
Back in my day (as if I’m elderly), holiness appeared to be all about the outward – you couldn’t wear pants, no make-up, no earrings, no jewelry, GOD FORBID – don’t color/cut your hair, no fingernail polish, no lipstick/lip gloss, NO OPEN-TOE SHOES (moment of silence…); You get my point. I’m not exaggerating, either! This was how I grew up. It was an indication that if you did any of these things, you’d be considered a heathen; a sinner; someone not converted because that’s what the world looked like. Pretty much someone who looks like me now.
When you look at me, what do you see? You see my cut/colored hair, my style, my earrings, my OPEN-TOE PUMPS (moment of silence…) – all the things that I was taught was ungodly growing up. Whether you know me or not, when you see me smile and/or when I speak, you know that there is “something different” about me – many people say it’s a “glow” that I have about me, but I want to correct them – it’s a form of holiness.
Today, God spoke to me clearly about what holiness IS and is not.
Lemme learn you something real quick! (yeah, I said it!)
Holiness is an intangible trait that produces a peaceful life.
Holiness is having discipline and self-control.
Holiness is being able to filter your thoughts in a timely manner so that the positive ones will manifest in your life rather than allow the infestation of the negatives.
Holiness is showing love…to your enemy. #POW
Holiness is smiling on the outside when you feel like you’re dying on the inside.
Holiness is resisting gossip and the temptation to slaughter someone’s character or name.
Holiness is treating your neighbor as you would treat yourself.
Holiness is praying for those who hate you, hurt you, help you, hinder you, and heal you. (Basically, praying in all situations for people.)
And most importantly, holiness is becoming more and more like the characteristics that Jesus Christ portrayed in his lifetime.
Holiness is NOT what you wear. (Now don’t take this and run with it saying that I said it’s okay for you to come to church in obscenities…lol…use wisdom, people.)
I’ve seen people who look the part and play the part of being holy, but it is the furthest thing from their heart. If you would search their heart, there would be no traces of holiness because holiness is a characteristic that transforms your life from the inside out. It makes you sensitive to God and to His people. It makes you show mercy and grace to others when society says not to. Holiness is your thoughts, speech, heart, and mannerisms. How do I know? Because I was one of those people – wore long skirts but held even longer grudges; thought I was holy because of what I wore but had hatred living in my heart; judged others but didn’t want to be judged; lived in religion but didn’t have a real relationship with God because of misunderstandings. Once God began to show me what His Kingdom was/is about, I began to understand ministry more and the reason why He specifically tells us to “be holy, as he is holy.” We’re human and have human emotions. With the wrong attitude and motives, it’s absolutely impossible for us to be effective as his vessels. He wants us to be His “mini-me” by being an exact replica of His holiness – NOT the misconception of it.
I do not write to you as a successful graduate student of Holiness University. I have many flaws and have made countless mistakes, for my past is just as filthy as the bottom of the ocean; however, I write to you as a continuous learning student at Holiness University. My professor is God and his teaching assistants are my Bishop and Pastor, my spiritual mentors and even some of you. Every day I learn something new about holiness and how to be holy. It truly is a lifestyle. One of my favorite quotes of all time says,
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Author Unknown
If I would rewrite this to coincide with this post, it would go a little something like this:
“Filter your thoughts with holiness, for they become holy words.
Filter your words with holiness, for they become holy deeds.
Filter your deeds with the right motives, for they become habits and what’s expected of you.
Watch your habits, for they become characteristics of holiness.
Watch your characteristics of holiness, for it becomes your destiny for as the bible says in Hebrews 12:14, ‘Without holiness, no one will see the Lord’.”
And when it’s all said and done, that’s our destiny goal – to see the Lord, right? Well, the book of Hebrews clearly states that without holiness, we won’t see Him. God cares more about our godly characteristics than anything else because ultimately that’s counts.
I challenge you to forsake the misconception of holiness and cling to the true definition of what it is. I leave you with this scripture today:
Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
For His Glory,