Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Heb. 12:14)
I use to believe we could become holy by saying many prayers, making many sacrifices, and through being perpetually good. Holiness was about doing certain things and not doing other things. I have moved a long way from such thoughts.
The holy people I know have all been broken, lost their way, or done something that caused great anguish and much regret. Their holiness wasn’t about how good they were, but about how good God is; and it wasn’t about how far they had climbed up, but about how far Jesus had climbed down into their mess to raise them up by His grace.
Those who act like holiness can be merited can’t help but to become self-congratulatory and judgmental. When we look at how good we are, we have stopped giving thanks for how good God is. When we judge others as stumbling sinners, we are putting ourselves in God’s place. Putting ourselves in God’s place isn’t very helpful for our egos or for our relationship with God.
There’s a huge difference between those who are holy and those who are “holier-than-thou.” Whereas holy people are very attractive, “holier-than-thous” never are. Holy people invite us to see through their lives to get a glimpse of God. “Holier-than-thous” beckon us to look at just how special they are.
If we look at Jesus we see what a holy person looks like. If we look at the Pharisees we see what the “holier-than-thous” look like. Who would we rather resemble?
Our way to holiness isn’t through our successes, but our failures; not through the light, but through the darkness; not by climbing up some ladder, but through crying out from the pit. If holiness were an achievement, we wouldn’t need Jesus.
Today, I encourage us to accept that becoming holy can only come as a gift from a Gracious God to a needy child. When we do so, we are already on the path.
- Do you ever think or pray about becoming holy? If so, what occurs to you? If not, why?
- Who have been the holy people in your own life? What do you think about thanking them for their holy presence?
- When people consider you, do they get a glimpse of Jesus, hear a whisper from Jesus, or perceive an inkling of grace from Jesus?