Sunday, June 10, 2012



One of the most misunderstood terms in the spiritual arena is "holy". Unfortunately, "holy" has become so intimidating and unreachable. It has a super-spiritual connotation to it. But Jesus doesn't want you to be a super-saint or a super-spiritual person.
There are three problems with this misunderstanding. FIRST-To be "holy", sets up a level of spirituality that is unattainable and intimidating. So, "holy" is not something we seek, unless you are an "out-there" sort of spiritual person.
SECOND-To be "holy" sets up a 1st class Christianity or spirituality versus those who are 2nd class or coach. Talk about shutting the door of the Kingdom on people!

THIRD-To be "holy" is to operate under a gross misunderstanding of what "holy" really means. It's usually half-understood. Literally, "holy" means to be separated unto God for His mission. However, where I grew up to be "holy" was shortened to mean " to be separated". The way it was applied to me was that we are to be separated-different from the rest of the world. It was definitely a "We-four-and-no-more kind of lifestyle!" We were an established holy huddle in our community. We were different because we didn't do certain things-attend movies, drink any alcohol, dance or even skate to secular music. We were different all right and successfully turned people away from the attractive, irresistible Jesus. I'm turned off with this kind of spirituality today!

To be "holy" is just the opposite of what Jesus intended. He mostly used the term "holy" to describe the Holy Spirit, holy angels, and the Holy Place-the Temple. As I said earlier the term "holy" means to be separated or set apart unto God for His mission. The Spirit is holy. The angels are holy. Even the Temple was holy-separated unto God for His mission.

Jesus was most upset and angry with those who continually acted holy and missed out on true holiness. He rebuked those super-spiritual, nit-picker, hair-splitting, feather-plucking, hyper-critical leaders who set themselves up as the religious examples of righteousness. They majored in the minors and minored in the majors. They professed righteousness without possessing it and they did it by carefully following their traditions, man-made commandments and religious causes. This kept them set apart and separated from the rest of the world. As they worked hard to keep the 613 laws-248 commandments and 365 prohibitions-they just kept drawing the condemnation of men on the righteous acts before God.

The Scriptures taught holiness, but the meaning of it was not to just be set apart and be different, gathering yourselves into a holy huddle. In the Hebrew Scriptures it is clear that God wants those who claim to be related to Him to be holy. This sets us up for SECRET #59: The follower of Jesus is separated unto God for His mission.

In Leviticus 11:44-45 it says: I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. Later in Leviticus 20:26 it says: You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. Paul and Peter in the New Testament speak of being "called to be holy" and "make every effort to live in peace with all men and be holy". Peter says in his first letter: But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.

Even though Jesus doesn't command His followers to be holy, in the spirit of what is understood by the references in Leviticus and by the few references to be holy by a few of Jesus' disciples, Jesus does actually teach holiness-to be set apart unto God for His mission. I think Jesus is all about teaching those who want to be His disciples how to be holy. He does this by His two most revolutionary words: FOLLOW ME! In contrast to the super-spiritual community of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, Jesus invited the people who were interested in following Him to: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Do you see it? To be holy is to be set apart for God's use and purposes. Jesus invites us to follow Him-to be aligned with Him in such a way that we are on the mission He has planned for us-to walk, talk, think and love like Jesus. Jesus doesn't want us to be holy in the super-spiritual sense of the word, but holy-set apart to follow Him. SECRET #59: The follower of Jesus is separated unto God for His mission.