A few days ago, I sensed Jesus speaking to me. In essence he said something like this:
I’m calling you to holiness. If you want to see and experience my power among you, you must strive for holiness, to offer your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to me. Because this is not happening among you in all parts of your lives, you are not really seeing my power and what I want to do through you. You must lead the people in this.
Coincidentally (or not so), I’ve been in the book of Romans and last week in chapter 12 I read this:
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The reality of this has really hit me. I want to see people restored, healed, and realize how much God loves them and wants to interact with them. I want people to know that their purpose is to be part of making that happen, that they are part of God’s plan to restore everyone to himself. I want to see God’s love and power demonstrated. I don’t just want this, Jesus wants this. We are ambassadors for Christ, a holy priesthood, set apart for him and his purposes at all times.
I know the basic definition of holy, but when I looked it up in the dictionary, it says this:
- Set apart to the service or worship of God; hallowed; sacred; reserved from profane or common use; holy vessels; a holy priesthood.
- Spiritually whole or sound; of unimpaired innocence and virtue; free from sinful affections; pure in heart; godly; pious; irreproachable; guiltless; acceptable to God.
That is challenging, but it’s also our call.
But is the purpose of striving for holiness to say, “Look at me…I’m different than you!” No. It’s to be inviters and bridge builders. It’s to be able to walk into any environment and say look at what’s possible; look at the amazing life that Jesus invites us into; look at the amazing transformational power available to us. It’s to be able to say yeah, I’ll have some drinks with you, but I’m much more interested in what’s going on spiritually in your life. This is what drives me.
If you know me, you know that I’m all about a good party. I believe Jesus is too. I mean, his first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding party. But do we just blend in at the party or is something different about us? Am I over-spiritualizing things? Yes, I am. I want my life to be full of the Spirit, overflowing in every part at all times. I think I read that somewhere…Ephesians 5:18. Am I being idealistic? Yes.
It is at some level a sacrifice to strive to live this way that will inevitably look different. But as I’ve been trying to live this way, I’m actually experiencing something much different than sacrifice…fulfillment.
I was at a party a few months ago and it was more than just fun, it was fulfilling. At first I was just mingling and then got into a deep conversation with someone, which ended up in some healing prayer. Shortly after that, I found myself in a circle of conversation about what our purpose in life was and how we get away from the boredom and the mundane. The evening ended with a smaller group talking about their challenges, struggles, and how to get through them. I left that evening thinking; this is what life is about. This is what a party should be like, where you walk away not just having had fun, but being filled and fulfilled. Jesus seemed to be the center the whole time…that’s cool.
We’re being called to holiness because Jesus wants to do something in these twin cities. He wants to transform the entire place. He wants to heal people physically and emotionally. He wants to eradicate depression and loneliness. He wants to show us something different than consumerism, materialism, and living for comfort. Jesus wants to demonstrate his loving power, and he wants to use us to do it. We are his body, his hands and feet, his conduits of love…let’s live that way, all the time.