I have been a Christian since 1984 and since that time I have heard, read about, and pondered holiness. I can honestly and openly say that even after all this time I am still exploring what true holiness is. I know that it is not how you wear your hair. Remember those beehive hairdos of old? I know that it is not how long you wear your dress or the absence of makeup or jewelry. When we lived in Hawaii during the eighties, one day, I saw walking on the beach some ladies from the mainland with long sleeved dresses on, no make-up, no jewelry and remember thinking, “how odd.” I was not judging them, it just seemed odd to me.
Holiness is not something that you hear about unless you are in Christendom and even concerning Christians there is an ever-learning process concerning holiness and we are all still learning. As I think about holiness this morning, I remember that holiness is who I am. With all my imperfections, flaws, and missing the mark I am holy. I am not holy in my own right. It is not something that I invented, nor conjured up. I am holy because God is holy, and I am His child. I carry His DNA. The bible calls us saints. A saint is simply someone who has been chosen by God, belong to God and has been set aside for his purpose. As a saint of God, I may not ever perform a miracle. But that is okay because I am the miracle. It means that He has moved me from one category to another. I have gone for sinner to saint. It means that I am His. He has separated me from who I used to be. It means that he is progressively changing my life. And if there is no change it is not His fault but my own.
Holiness is my character. My character should reflect His character. Sometimes it just does not, and I must remember that I am a work in progress. He is the builder of this vessel and I have an unseen hard hat on my head. In the natural the purpose of a hard hat on a construction site is to protect the head against threats that could possibly inflict life changing injuries. With that said my head-my mind must be protected, and my thoughts cultivated to His way of thinking. I must change and it does not all happen at once. I am reminded of a quote from a children’s book:
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.' 'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit. ‘Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt. ‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit? ‘It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” ― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit
Holiness is an inside job, and my inside may not always reflect on my outside. The “real” work has started, and I am becoming more “real” every day. Holiness is who I am and real is what I am becoming…