“For God has not called us to impurity but to consecration [to dedicate ourselves to the most thorough purity]. Therefore, whoever disregards (sets aside and rejects this) disregards not man but God, Whose [very] Spirit [Whom] He gives to you is holy (chaste, pure). —I Thessalonians 4:7-9 AMP
I grew up in a small country town in northwest Louisiana, and attended a Pentecostal church, secure within denominational boundaries. It was during the time when being identified as “holy-rollers” and belonging to a “sanctified” church was ridiculed.
The entire student body of the school I attended knew I was a member of the ‘sanctified’ church. As a teenager, I was ashamed because word spread rapidly that I could not participate in the extracurricular activities because of my religious beliefs. Of course, they weren’t my beliefs. They were my mother’s, namely, my grandmother’s. I just had to live as if they were mine.
I recall the embarrassment and isolated feeling that had already possessed my soul because I was an only child. I felt out of touch with reality, not mention denial of the chance to enjoy teenage life. After all, it was boring enough growing up in a small “country” town that was not on the map, so I thought.
My frustrations grew for four years of high school. By my senior year, I presented my case before the court and won without any deliberation before a jury of one—my mother. Free at last! I could attend a basketball game occasionally and began designing my own outfits. However, this was after my grandmother went home to be with the Lord.
Although sadden by my granny’s death, in my heart was a sigh of relief as I anticipated the beginning of a new life of “freedom” for me. It was an adjustment, but not to the extent of my anticipation. Godly principles and biblical teachings still dominated the home although Grandma was gone. I was still bound to the standards of holiness. Perhaps, Granny’s spirit permeated the atmosphere. What she had taught in word and deed lived on— much prayer, fasting and consecration—holiness or hell is what she taught and lived!
Now as I reflect on her sincerity of heart to live a pleasing life before God and men, I appreciate her commitment to the call to holiness. Today I hold the highest respect for my grandmother and mother because they, and others of their generation, chose to stand for holiness. It didn’t matter they were called ‘holy-rollers’. They were proud to be called ‘peculiar’ rather than lower God’s standards and be labeled hypocrites.
Yes, there was a long list of do’s and don’ts when I was teenager. And, they focused just as much on the external as they did the internal. The truth is, they provided balance in the demonstration of holy living. An expression of genuine love prevailed among fellow believers. They prayed earnestly for each other. They shared their possessions freely with others.
In essence, they dressed the part, inside and out. The “Saints” (as they were called back then) were committed to living lifestyles that modeled sanctification both inside and out. They were sincere about God being the Potter; they wanted to be placed on the potter’s wheel and made into another vessel (Jeremiah 18:4). They called it “yielding yourself” to the will of God.
They were serious about obedience to God’s word; therefore, as a minor, under their authority I was bound to a lifestyle that reflected their beliefs although my understanding wasn’t clear about their commitment to biblical teachings. It may have caused frustrations for a while. However, once I changed my attitude toward the matter, I noticed the world didn’t end. In fact, I was spared from troublesome incidents because obedience kept me from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In essence, rules, guidelines, and high standards protected me from dangerous situations. (“Live as children of obedience to God; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires that governed you in your former ignorance when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel. But as the One who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.” I Peter 1:15-16)
I’m convinced that my protective and restricted lifestyle was hands-on training in holiness that prepared me for answering God’s call to holiness today.
Living in obedience to God’s standards in character, conversation and conduct should be the desire of every Christian serious about their relationship with Christ. Living in obedience to God’s command to be holy keeps us from self-destruction and eternal damnation.
Has God lowered His standards for the 21st Century so that we can participate in the many extracurricular activities that appeal to our egocentric lifestyles? Are Christians being driven by the need to conform to the world that we devote our time to meditating on ways to compromise; and then, read the Bible to try finding justification for worldly desires?
From the Old Testament to the New Testament, He has commanded that we be holy like Him (Leviticus 11:44, I Peter 1:15-16; I Thessalonians 4:7-9).
Holiness is the identifying trait of our Father. If we are His children then we should possess at least some of His characteristics! Holiness (purity) is one of His many attributes that make Him God—He is HOLY! Will you answer His call to holiness?
Holiness is a standard of living that applies the Word of God in practical day-to-day living. A Christian’s behavior, actions and attitude are evidence of having a relationship with Jesus the Christ. To live a life of holiness is to possess a heart of penitence. It is impossible to live holy without possessing a spirit of repentance from evil thoughts, saying and doing the wrong thing. Holiness does not mean masquerading piously or flaunting an attitude of perfection; instead, it is being confident in the power of the Holy Spirit and the sufficiency of God’s amazing grace to admit your faults and imperfections. Consequently, yielding yourself to the Potter to make you into another vessel that reflects the image of His Son, Jesus Christ equates to answering the call to holiness. Moreover, the initial step it is making the decision to do so. “For I am the Lord your God; so consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy…” Leviticus 11:44
“Will you answer His call to holiness?”
©Queen E. F. Phillips. All rights reserved. Permission granted to distribute for nonprofit purposes only with credit given to copyright owner.