Lift your hands in holiness, and bless the Lord. (Ps 134:2)
God commands that:
You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy. (Lev 19:12)
Want to get better in your worship? Understand holiness.
Do a quick study of the train wrecks that occur when the unholy (or spiritual uncleanliness) is presented to a holy God…not pretty. God rejects what is unholy from his presence.
On this life road, I’ve learned to read the road signs. 1) Follow the roads that signs say lead to holiness. 2) Avoid the roads that signs say lead to un-holiness.
Now, I have some applied knowledge of holiness. It usually involves, “Don’t do ______.”
Then I read this…
“I think the church has fixated on sins of commission [wishing you hadn’t done something] for far too long. We have a long list of don’ts. Think of it as holiness by subtraction. We think holiness is the byproduct of subtracting something from our lives that shouldn’t be there. And holiness certainly involves subtraction. But I think God is more concerned about sins of omission – those things we could have and should have done. It’s holiness by multiplication. Goodness is not the absence of badness. You can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right. Those who simply run away from sin are half-Christians. Our calling is much higher than simply running away from what’s wrong.”¹
The loud crash you just heard was all my preconceived notions of holiness shattering on the floor.
Think about this as I pick up the pieces: When using the label “holier-than-thou”, there’s a 99.999% chance it was not meant as a compliment. Yet most would agree holiness is still suppossed to be a good thing.
How have we gotten this all mixed up? Where has this concept been lost? As a whole, the American church:
- has had a long list of don’ts and a short list of do’s.
- has become re-active (known for what it’s against) instead of pro-active (known for what it’s for).
- would rather split theological hairs within its walls than go without its doors and make real, tangible differences in the community.
The results? For the most part – NO unity, NO growth, NO interest in the church, and most distressing of all…NO change.
Don’t misunderstand me. Wrong is still wrong as far as holiness is concerned and I still love the church. It’s the body of Christ. It’s my family. We may not agree with family, but we love them.
However, it’s time to stop, get the GPS bearings, and heed the road signs.
Because there is a new movement. A call for honor and holiness. And a generation ready and willing to answer the call.
As I travel down this road I sense a shift in direction is coming. The road signs read “Road Work Ahead” as a caution to be vigilant and ready to respond to the work that is happening ahead.
We need to make things right. There is so much work to do.
¹ “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson