Quick! What is the first thing that pops into your head when I say the word, “holy”? For some reason an image of “Father Time” comes to my mind- you know, long white beard and robes, sitting on a cloud, distant and unreal. No wonder I never thought the idea of being holy was too appealing. Who wants to look like that? I bet I was not alone in conjuring up the strange image, or in the lack of desire to be “holy.”
Let’s get re-schooled in what God really means when He says, “Be holy, for I am Holy.” 1 Peter 1:16. “Holy” must be a good thing, not something to avoid, but something really awesome, as Jack Black would say-- the “Awesomest” -- as God is the definition of Awesome. And I want to be that kind of “holy”, for He is all Goodness and Completeness combined. He is the font and source of all: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. Who does not want all of that and for everyone we know to have more of that as well?
So what is holy? I agree wholeheartedly with Franciscan priest, Fr. Dave Pivonka in his book The Breath of God, Living a Life Led by the Holy Spirit (order it here: ) when he writes: ”For me to be holy is for me to be the person that God created me to be...The perception is that holiness is the Trappist monk--not the rambunctious postulant, or busy CEO, or auto executive, or stay-at-home mom. This must change. God calls each and every baptized Christian to be holy and sends his Spirit to us so that we may be holy. It is a blessing to look at the saints as models, but sometimes this perpetuates the problem. We need more models of saints who were busy moms and dads, business men and women, married people...John 17:18 reminds us that we have been sent into the world and this is where we live a life of holiness.”
Who has God created you to be? Only by His Spirit can you truly be that. God has placed inside each baptised Christian the means to holiness, completeness, maturity. We can’t just will it, although our will is involved. We need to make a personal decision that we want to strive for holiness. Then we daily surrender to God’s spirit and let Him work in us to allow that to happen. I find a daily morning routine of prayer and scripture reading very helpful in fanning the flames in my life to surrender to all that God is asking of me. And while you may not care if I pray daily, I can assure you, if you are around me, you will know when I have not, because my “holiness” seems to wear pretty thin, pretty quickly. I cannot in my own strength be the person God, you or I would like for me to be. You get short changed. I am not all God intends for me to be without Him, and neither are you.
So, holiness is connecting with and surrendering to the Spirit of God who makes us like Himself. It is not out of drudgery that we surrender, because God has taken away our hearts of stone (like the old ten commandments that were written on tablets of stone. He now says that He has written them on the tablets of our soft, fleshy heart so that we long to do His will, to be like Him, to be holy. Hebrews 10:16) Holiness will look differently for each of us. In our daily lives God will use our circumstances to form us in holiness (which I see is a culmination of all of the virtues.) As St. Francis said, “The world will be my cloister.” Go...and by God’s grace, be holy.
“But you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises’ of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Help! I want to be holy. Make me holy! But I guess I should start with-- Please give me the insight to see what that would look like in my life. Give me eyes to see what more patience, more kindness, more love looks like and help me to strive to connect with You so that I can be holy, for only You can give me the means to grow and be fruitful in the things and ways of You. Lord, I guess what I am asking for is more of You. Not for my own vain glory, but for Your great glory and purposes in this world. Help me to grow in love with You. Come Holy Spirit. Fill me and help me to be the person You are calling and invision me to be. Only by Your grace, Lord. Help me to abandon myself to You.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.