Are You Hungry? Satisfaction for the Soul
What comes to your mind when you think of the word “holiness?" If you are like me, it’s the rules, regulations and “white knuckling” it through stuff we don’t like. At the very least, purity is viewed as boring. I think our warped definition of holiness needs a “makeover”—a face lift.
C.S. Lewis described holiness this way: “How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing…it is irresistible.” We don’t often associate holiness with irresistibility. Chocolate cake? Now that’s irresistible. Holiness, however, seems more like a strict diet and giving up things we enjoy.
The root of the word holy is “to cut, to separate”, which means to be, “set apart, to be distinct, to be different.” When we imagine heaven, we envision a place that’s spotless, pure—holy. Charles Spurgeon described it this way:
Heaven is a place where we shall never sin; where we shall cease our constant watch against an indefatigable enemy, because there will be no tempter to ensnare our feet. There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. (1)
So, if heaven is a safe and uncontaminated place, and if God’s nature is holiness (Lev 11:44-45, 1 Peter 1:16), then why aren’t we more interested in the subject? It seems as though the pursuit should be exuberant, enthusiastic, and fun. When and how did holiness get such a bad reputation? Part of the problem is the church has morphed the phrase “to be distinct or different” into “to be weird”, which might explain why many people avoid the concept.
Sometimes we run from holiness because it requires turning away from sin. There’s the rub. People like sin; at least we think we do. That’s until the consequences flaunt their hideous fangs and demand “a pound of flesh.” Then we humbly fall to the ground and admit that God was right; holiness is a wise choice and virtue is a treasure.
In her book, Holiness, Nancy Leigh DeMoss shares, “Holiness is a joyous, loving response to the God who loves us and created us to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. It is the overflow of a heart that is deeply grateful to have been redeemed by God from sin”. Nancy goes on to share a story about a friend who is cleaning out the home of her elderly parents. As the woman is sorting through papers and numerous memorabilia she states, “There was not one single thing in those belongings that was inconsistent with my parent’s profession of their relationship with Christ.” (2) Wow! What a wonderful legacy.
This story caused me to pause. Is everything in my home consistent with the messages I share on the speaking platform?
How about you? Are you hungry for holiness? God desires to replace distorted definitions with his truth. Holiness is good for us; it keeps us safe. And it’s the very thing the world is longing to see in the Body of Christ.
1. Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening Devotional, Morning Dec 11
2. Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Holiness, Moody Publishers