The world feeds us with visions of our “potential” in it. After all, how much we miss out on when we are set apart from its promise! How we suffer needlessly for “rules” that keep us from having fun and “outdated beliefs” of self-denial. Why do we deny ourselves the pleasures that are available to us? Why do we suffer “needlessly” when the world is at our fingertips?
As I worked on this article, I read over the words to “Higher Ground.” I was struck by the wonderful message and application this hymn has for me, especially at this point in my life. I have recently been struggling with the concept of all the distractions we face in life that draw our attention and focus off of Jesus Christ. I think this is one of Satan’s ways of attacking us and weakening our relationship with our Lord.
HOLINESS is the habitation (dwelling place) of GOD. HOLINESS is the separation of the sacred from the profane, common, or worldly. A dwelling has limited access, and GOD limited access to Himself. He could only be approached in a way that He instituted by Law in the Old Testament. Through Jesus CHRIST, the door to GOD’s dwelling place was revealed. All who follow JESUS may enter GOD’s dwelling and be filled with His life-giving Spirit. In fact, the follower of Jesus Christ becomes indwelt by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and GOD dwells within them.
The Holiness of God can be terrifying. Why is this? Well to start, if sinless angels who worship God in His presence must cover their eyes and feet (Isaiah 6:2), then what hope is there for the man whose feet can't leave the ground, whose heart is stained by unholy sin, and whose eyes are accustomed to gazing at a dark world? We may be tempted to look away from the reality of God's holiness or minimize it by recasting God's character to make Him a more approachable image. But we must not! We must embrace God's holiness.
The Christian is called to be holy, just as God is Holy: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16 NASB).
Holiness is the only attribute of God that is repeated three times, and all are of utmost importance. In the Hebrew language, intensity is communicated by repetition, so this indicates that the holiness of God should be held in awe by us. When God chose to show His holiness to Isaiah by way of a vision (Isaiah 6:1-4), the searing light of God on His throne, above the heavens and earth, brought him to reverence and repentance.
What is it that makes us "holy"? I used to think holiness was following a list of very strict rules that denied anything of pleasure and that was very strict in self-discipline, in order to be more "god-like." Along with that, there was an expected code other Christians followed and things you just did if you were to be "holy." As Believers, we can do many “good” things and appear “consecrated to the Lord,” but what is true holiness? What does it mean to be holy?