For me, this word had gotten a bad rap. It conjured up images of stuffy, stoic scholars dressed in elaborate deceptions, sitting on shaky judgment seats while enforcing religious rules. No one trusts these delegates of fear. Or my Imagination of HOLY envisioned some pious recluses, donned in sheets of cloth, murmuring ancient sayings while wandering down dark arched halls. Whatever I might see when I heard the word, HOLY, it usually included NOT HAVING FUN.
When I first became a believer and heard the word HOLY spoken in Sunday sermons, referring to the congregation, I shuddered with dread. UGH. I didn’t want to be HOLY.
I wanted to have FUN - to enjoy, to laugh, to eat, drink and be merry. That word HOLY seemed to overshadow me with a dark cloud of duty, striving, critical competition and approval seeking. I rebelled. I thought, “Ok. I’ll believe in Jesus, do good to people and that’s about it. This HOLY stuff is for the birds."
Boy, was I wrong.
First, I was wrong about the word, HOLY. It didn’t mean rigid rules or hiding under sheets of cloth or stoic scholars. It met something entirely different. In defense of my misunderstanding, I’d never heard the truth about HOLY. My assumption of trying to be “good enough” looked like it was modeled well among many Christians, and that’s where my problem started. I believed a lie.
One day, in my quest to reconcile the Jesus I admired and the word HOLY, I found it…
This nugget of freedom –
HOLY: "intact, complete, taken away from common usage, designed for higher purposes."
I had been taking the word HOLY and applying it according to standards I don’t even like – standards based on appearance and not the heart. That’s why I felt so uncomfortable in places where holiness was judged by how I did something instead of who God was making me to be. When I started meditating on HOLY as God intended; my life began reflecting a Creator who LOVES me. His ways don’t bring fierce judgment but direction on how to live a beautiful life, full of joy and destiny.
I am free to be who God made me to be. I am intact not stressed. I am complete not striving. I’m taken away from common usage – not needing to do what everyone else is doing. I’m designed for my higher purpose – to be the best me! I'm embracing HOLY.
As I continue reflecting on this understanding of HOLY, I see how God has opened doors to share it with women in Kenya. Many of these widowed mamas, single mamas, young girls are poisoned by lies – “HOLY is only for men of God, HOLY doesn’t include them. They are too poor for HOLY, too weak, too needy, too uneducated, undeserving, unloved…
This false idea of HOLY has led some to gossip about each other or even leave the faith because they thought they could never measure up.
But I see HOLY HOPE!
God reveals himself in strange ways, like sewing group discussions that lead to healthy introspection, or visiting under mango trees, sipping ruby-colored roselle tea and praying for brokenness to be healed.
God is showing these women Jesus was sent for them to live intact, to live complete, to leave behind common usage and embrace their higher purposes
of loving God and caring for others.
My HOLY goals for 2015?
- Let myself soberly reflect on the epistles as they relate to my journey with Jesus.
- Entrust my family more and more to the unending security of God’s grace.
- Move with HOLY Spirit’s gracious discernment in ministry among the least.
“But be holy - "intact, complete, taken away from common usage, designed for higher purposes" now in everything you do, just as the Lord is holy, who invited you to be his child. He himself has said, “You must be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16.