Who Wants To Be Holy?


Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.

~1 Peter 1:14-15, NLT


Holiness is not being nice and it is not polish.

~Eugene L. Peterson

What words or images came into the minds of the Jewish religious leaders when Jesus made the bull whip and drove the merchants and money changers out of the temple? I doubt seriously that any of them thought of Jesus as being holy. First of all, holy people dress in holy attire and Jesus dressed like a peasant, not a priest. Perhaps our problem is with the definition of holiness. The Jewish religious establishment thought they were holy and they had the polish to prove it but in fact they were among the most despicable humans on the planet. Caiaphas was the devil incarnate and his father-in-law was probably more evil than Caiaphas. True holiness is not polish, not garb: Jesus was acting from the heart. He was upset by the corrupt practices of the priesthood who were making money while pretending to expiate the guilt of the people coming to them. They were literally ripping people off under the pretense of being spiritual leaders. The Jewish priesthood was not holy. Holiness is not an act.

Now I am going to be honest with you; from my childhood, I have had a fear of holiness and for most of my life, I have not had a desire to be holy. Now I did want to do the right thing and treat people fairly, but I continued to reject any idea of holiness. I did not act holy; I made to attempt to be holy. Slowly, and by grace, God began revealing the truth to my dim-witted mind. Holiness is not a bad thing; it is not a black suit and tie, it is not wearing uncut hair a mile long so you can roll it into a bun. It is not wearing black suits, long dresses and refusing to use cosmetics. You do need to be covered up. Dressing like a street walker is not a sign of holiness. But holiness cannot be reduced to the clothes we wear. True holiness is transparency. Jesus didn’t pretend, ever! You can’t say that about yourself or me. Pretending to be holy is not holiness; it is basically the opposite. Holy people do not pretend.

Reminds me of a story that happened forty five years ago. A man got really upset with his pastor {just graduated seminary} for playing on the church softball team. He confronted him one Wednesday night after prayer service. He met him in the foyer and laid into him. The young pastor was shocked and almost speechless. He listened to the man’s complaint which was, “You have better things to do than to play softball,” and then he politely told him that he disagreed and that he would continue to play softball. So the man goes to one of the deacons and tells him what he is upset about. In the course of the conversation, the angry man said to the deacon, “He doesn’t act like a preacher.” The deacon said in response, “That what I like about him most, he doesn’t act at all.”

Now, after all these years I find myself longing to be holy. I want to be transparent. I do not want to pretend: I want to be real. Psalm 37:4 saved my life, “Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” You make the LORD your utmost delight and He will give you what you really long for. When someone asks Charles Spurgeon what his hearts desire was, he said, “To be free of sin.” I do believe I will be free of sin someday but it will be His grace and His grace alone that will make it happen. One day I will be holy. I long for that day. There is nothing good about sin.


LORD willing, I will be attending the COLS of Wendell Callahan today. Wendell is an old friend who helped me through a very difficult time in my life. He had deep wisdom and understanding and was just the counselor I needed. His promotion was a shock. He had not been sick. No one knows for sure but they think it was a heart attack that may have come from a blood clot. Wendell pastored churches here in Morgan County and also in Mississippi. My sympathy to Kathy, Keith and Kelvin. Wendell will be missed. He and Tim drove by the house on a daily basis and every now in then, he pulled in for a chat.

I have made a commitment not to complain but a HEAT WAVE is upon us and it is a doozy. Record highs have been set in the west for the past three days and now it has made it to the Southeast. It makes me long for a cabin on a creek in the mountains.

Chloe Bug is at church camp at Carson Newman. It is her first time to be away from home. Ryder and Ty are playing basketball this week; they are at Good Hope today so we will be on the run. Thank goodness, it is on the inside.



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