Generation Cedar

Words pierce when they are God-words…

“W e must continually remind ourselves of the purpose of life.  We are not destined to happiness, nor to health, but to holiness….God has only one intended destiny for mankind–holiness.  His only goal is to produce saints.  God is not some eternal blessing-machine for people to use, and He did not come to save us out of pity–He came to save us because He created us to be holy.”  -Oswald Chambers

The only way we use the word “holiness” today is as a poetic chant in our favorite praise song. We want nothing to do with holiness if it means interference with our desires and interests.

Why can’t I remember that God’s ONLY purpose is to make me holy?  Holy and happy are sometimes very far apart.  I want to be happy.  He wants me to be holy.  Sometimes they collide, but He isn’t really concerned with that.  I’m busy trying to orchestrate my circumstances to be happy and I have to wonder, how many times do I hinder His attempts to make me holy?

What does it mean to be holy?  Christians aren’t even taught holiness.  The very word falls awkward on our ears and we recoil a bit. Can I even get to the place where all I care about is being completely His, used by Him, for His purposes, no matter the cost?

Can I say to Him, “I am yours, make me holy?” and then see every circumstance in my life as that which is effecting the very prayer in me?

My heart ponders today….what does it mean to be holy, and am I willing for Him to make me? And I wonder, what do you think it means to be holy?

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15 Responses

  1. This has been something I think about often. It seems that when I am “happy” it is easy to be “holy” but when life throws curve balls, and this last 2 years have been life altering curve balls….I shrink back in hurt and anger and wonder if He is even still hearing me. Why do I struggle so much, why cant I put my fleshly emotions aside and react in the way that He is wanting me to react although that is my hearts deepest desire.

    Holiness very simply is reading His word and doing what it says with no regrets and no compromise.

    “…deny your own will in all things, and take up your cross daily. Be ready to cut off anything that would hinder you, and to cast it from you. Be ready and willing to suffer the loss of possessions, of friends, of health….of all things on earth….so you may enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

  2. Such a nice post Kelly. I think holiness is a many faceted concept, but what is standing out most strongly to me right now is that to be holy is to have total peace as you walk in Yahweh’s will for your life.

    Having peace, but walking in your OWN way is not holiness. Walking in His way, but fighting it is not holiness either. Obedient maybe, but not holy.

    I agree that an important part of becoming sanctified is learning to accept every circumstance as being a part of His will rather than railing against them. And to keep in focus that He is good (underlined) rather than just submitting in fatalistic despair.

  3. Well said. I am currently reading through Jerry Bridges’ book “The Pursuit of Holiness” and thoroughly enjoying it. This is a subject that’s been on my heart and mind for the last several months and while it bothers me that it’s taking me 37 years to decide it’s important, I’m so glad I finally allowed the Holy Spirit to seriously prick my conscience last fall! And I’m so grateful for such great resources out there to explain what part of holiness is God’s job and what part is my responsibility.

  4. This is a well timed post and I now know what God is trying to say something to me. Last week my dh and I had one of those deep discussions that every couple needs to have periodically. In the midst of it he mentioned the idea of personal holiness. I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. Even a praise song that I used to sing in an old church keeps resounding in my heart and mind. I found a forgotten book on my shelf by Nancy Leigh DeMoss appropriately titled “Holiness” and picked it up to work through slowly (and I found the Jerry Bridges book mentioned above to possibly read next.)

    Last night I was having trouble breathing so I got out of bed to give myself a breathing treatment. Not being sleepy anymore, I stayed up late to pray (something I haven’t felt like doing since I had my baby in May.) I felt such a conviction of the Holy Spirit that there were things in my life that I treasure more than Jesus. in fact, these things keep me from seeking Jesus fully and being like Him. one of those (for me) was Facebook. As much as I hated losing contact with certain friends and family I decided then and there that I must take steps to treasure Him more than anything else. I deactivated my account at midnight last night. I think I slept better as well. 🙂 I suppose that is where holiness begins for me. I have been asking Him to expose the sin in my life and show me His holiness. He’s been doing that by showing me what I treasure more than Him right now.

    I have grown to love your blog and encouragement I find in it. in fact, I also scaled down the number of blogs I was reading last week and decided to keep yours. I only found this blog 3 weeks ago but it’s been a blessing to me. Thank you.

  5. My children (who act like children) are making me holy. My husband (flawed and imperfect) is making me holy. The people at church who are annoying, who offend me, who are thoughtless are making me holy.

  6. To be holy is to be made “perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.” And, yes, sometimes the process does not make us happy, but praise God that this is the purpose of life! Because holiness leads to peace and joy and deep, deep love and goodness. Not to mention, by His grace, I can and WILL be made holy–there’s no guarantee on happiness! If that were the purpose of life, I think I just might be a flop 😉

  7. I’m also reading “The Pursuit of Holiness” with my teenage daughter. (It is one of the book recommended in “Training Our Daughters to Be Keepers at Home”.) One of the things that struck us is how often holiness and obedience are used as synonyms in the Bible. For me, “be obedient” is so much easier to get my head around than “be holy”. Not necessarily easier to do, but much easier to tell when I’m not doing it!

  8. Karen, I know just what you mean about Him showing us things in our lives that we might be putting above Him. I’m reading a book called Lost in the Middle about being “middle-aged” and the author, Paul David Tripp, does such a very good job of explaining how we can take the good gifts that He gives us and place them above Him in our priorities. He goes on to explain that if we search our hearts, we will often find that the cause of our discontent come midlife (midlife crisis anyone?) lies in the fact that we are wrongly identifying our selves with some role other than being His.

  9. Kelly, thank you for faithfully encouraging us! I really appreciate your blog! A few posts ago you mentioned a movie about the human body. Would you mind telling me which one it is exactly?

  10. Awesome post. Holiness is indeed missing in churches today. From the pulpit, to the message to the members. But to have even one day of holiness, not sinning, is more than enough to spur on the next day, the next and the next! Receiving His reprimand is the easiest start to becoming holy as He is Holy. trust me on this, I’m in the middle of it! 😉

  11. Wow..I think I needed those words right now. We’ve been walking through a difficult church situation for almost a year and have had some challenging meetings in the last two days. I can’t stop crying. But what I keep seeing is how God is refining me, how I am becoming holy. Those besetting sins are being revealed and dealt with, and replaced with a deep desire to serve God. Even the trials of the last several weeks have served to kick me into a deeper relationship with God.
    In answer to your question, I think that being holy has many definitions. But for me, it’s about giving up my right to be right.

  12. I was out of town last week and I’m just catching up on blogging/commenting/etc. I read this yesterday as I was in an exhausted stupor, feeling so very ‘unhappy’. Being reminded of this helped me to keep my perspective and still be kind to my family. When we think of happiness and holiness from a temporal perspective (meaning ‘this life’ before eternity), I think it’s easy to lose focus, esp in the midst of the fire that God means to use to refine us. Tozer said something to the effect of God is making us holy here in this life in order to make His saints fit for Heaven. And I was going to say what Bethany said about what holiness is…”To be holy is to be made “perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.” “

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