Even when he’s sleeping my teenage son carries around a question. It is printed on a plain bracelet—IS IT HOLY. This challenging query was given to him at a Youth Convention last May. The speaker, Justin Lookadoo pointed out that as humans we like to justify our actions by saying something like, “Well, what’s wrong with it?” or “What’s so bad about that?” As Christian believers we are called to the much higher standard of holiness, which is etched over 550 times in Scripture’s Hebrew and Greek pages.
Holy has its origin in the triune God who created heaven and earth, ransomed sinners, and gives them a new life. Time after time in the Bible, God calls his people to be holy, set apart, unpolluted, motivated by truth and goodness, marked by obedience.
The book of Ezekiel, which I just finished in my “Bible-in-One-Year” marathon, is especially interested in the concept of holiness. One obscure verse in particular caught my eye this week: “When they placed their threshold next to my threshold and their doorposts next to my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them, they defiled my holy name by their detestable practices.” (Ezekiel 43:8). This description of two buildings (God’s holy temple and one of Solomon’s other edifices) shows a duality of heart. The entrance to human enterprise was set right next to the entrance to God’s presence, but that human enterprise gave no consideration to God’s laws and directions. This kind of hypocrisy is offensive to God, not to mention loathsome to those who are looking from the outside.
What we do from Monday to Saturday needs to be infused with holiness just as much as Sunday worship. Keep asking IS IT HOLY, even if it makes you stand out. Holiness does not trumpet itself, but it sure gets noticed. To God be the glory.