Monday, December 27, 2010
From the beginning of time, God has called His people to be holy. From the moment we are born, we are given freewill to strive towards holiness. I have always loved Jesus and strived to be more like him, but always find myself lacking and often confused. I would ask myself if He would handle the situation the way I did. When the saying, “what would Jesus do?” hit the stores, it irritated me. I had been asking this question for years. I didn’t need it reminding me I still didn’t have the answer. As all good fathers do, God gives us tools to help us along our journey.
The Bible is the biggest tool we have been gifted, so I began my search there by looking up the word holy. I used Bible Resources.org and found 564 listings. With the word holiness, I found 20 verses. I started looking up the passages in my personal Bible and the translation didn’t have the same words. I also noticed many of the readings talk about the Holy Spirit, the Holy One, and the holy mountain not necessarily guiding me to be holy. Obviously, I need to not just quickly fine passages, but I need to read. The journey to holiness in knowledge will not be quick.
The world has been blessed by a multitude of people of all faiths leading holy lives giving us good examples of their journey to holiness. The Bible tells us beautiful stories of God directly interacting with His people. The Catholic Church has their stories of people in history who have been granted the title of Saint. Books line the shelves of local stores showing us the amazing lives of people who make a difference in the world of medicine, politics, faith, and charity. All of us in the United States are given a free education to learn to read these stories and most communities have a local library to freely find the stories.
Daily we are surrounded by our fellow travelers of life. Many times, I carry on my day not thinking of their holiness; yet, I am sure many of these people are making the same journey towards holiness. Simply driving, I see kind drivers waving a car into a busy lane of traffic letting them go first. Is this an example of holiness? I believe it is. I believe it is in all of our acts that come from love and kindness and not just the large ones, which make up our journey to holiness. We need to train our hearts to see this holiness in each other to inspire us along the journey. Yes, we notice the drivers that cut us off and other acts of unkindness, but that will lead us to anger not holiness. See the good in others.
Many times our current culture is criticized by its lack of moral value and holiness. Yes, there are many areas that are lacking in integrity, but I challenge the world to look for the good in our culture. Believe me, it is there. Walk into a religious bookstore, and you will be bombarded by a culture rich in the journey to holiness. Watch a television show and look for the good in the characters portrayed. It is there. I watched an old episode of “Without A Trace” the other day. These stories can be very dark and dismal showing the worst of our culture. However, the main characters risk their lives daily to find people, to save people. They work to help the families bring closure to the disappearance of their loved ones and they work to make the world a safer place by capturing the people who partake in the evils of our world.
Now, here I do struggle. How can I say there is holiness in the example of television? The word holy simply means sacred or spiritually pure in my little Webster’s pocket dictionary. On dictionary.com, they give multiple definitions: dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion: a holy man and saintly; godly; pious; devout: a holy life and having a spiritually pure quality: a holy love. Reading this does not apply to these characters because I don’t know if their work is dedicated to the service of God. However, I am sure there are FBI agents out in the field today as I write this or on the day you read this who is dedicating their lives as agents in the glory of God. Yet if all of us average lay people look at these strict definitions will we ever by inspired to holiness? I believe not. We will continue to see only clergy and the greats as being holy when we are all called to holiness in our everyday lives. Instead, these things can inspire us to do things for the good of all and when we do it for God we are striving to be holy.
Along all journeys there are mishaps. I am reminded of taking my boys to an NFL game. The trip went wonderfully until we arrived at our vehicle on the day we needed to drive back from the airport. Snow piled high on top of the pickup and the temperature dipped low on the thermometer. When my husband jumped in to start it up, the battery died. We stumbled on this journey. Our path to holiness is no different. Clergy and saints stumble. We are human and will never perfectly travel the journey to holiness, but it is what we do when we stumble that will continue our walk. This week I have been stumbling when I start down the road to any given destination. I am angered by the way people are driving. I find myself angry and I will admit cursing at my fellow travelers. This is far from a pious attitude and not at all holy. I have two choices here. I could grumble of their stupidity and continue to be angry. Or, I could see my lack of patience and pray. I can pray for them to be safe and I can pray for my irritation to be lifted.
These are the areas I will explore in my journey to holiness. I would love to hear your thoughts along the way. Blessing to you all.