Sunday, November 06, 2011

Wholly Holy

I spent this weekend with some great women from UIS, talking about what it means to be wholly holy...sold out, 100%, all or nothing, committed/devoted/submitted to holiness. Our Friday night speaker, Melissa Sandel, had some really thoughtful things to say about holiness and community, and one of the things that keeps resonating in my heart is this:
"The most gracious gift you can give to one another is to be unsatisfied with unholy living".
I think we often think of holiness as a personal issue - my choices, my lifestyle, my behavior....but there are several places in scripture where we see holiness as a community issue - - one person's holiness or unholiness affects the entire church or community.
1 Corinthians 1:3 says, "I am writing to God’s church in Corinth,[a] to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus,[b] just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
Paul's letter was to God's church, to God's holy people, and so I think we can assume that Paul was writing to an entire faith community about the importance of living lives as foreigners and strangers, living differently from the rest of the world.

Saturday morning we had a panel of Godly women share about their experiences following God and striving for holiness in the midst of crappy circumstances, divorce, health problems, and busy lives/careers. As they shared their stories and their very different experiences, there were some common themes that emerged about remaining holy:

Be in the WORD
There's no way for us to know what God wants for us without consistently reading God's Word. Do a search for words like holy and holiness and you'll begin to understand what a big deal this is to God.

Make sure you're submitting to spiritual authorities

17Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them? - Hebrews 13:17 (MSG)

It's hard for us to admit we don't know it all. But God put us together in a community together for a purpose -- to learn from each other and be admonished and challenged and encouraged by each other. Living holy lives requires that we're willing to be transparent with a small group of people and especially those who are in leadership above us. It means making sure that you have a few older women who you allow to speak truth into your life. And then we have to be willing to listen.

My sin affects other people. Compromises you make affect my life and the ones I love.

How do we begin to love each other enough to not be satisfied with unholy living in the lives of those around us?

1 comment:

shana said...

I saw your tweets from the retreat, and I was so hoping you'd blog about it also. So thanks! What great thoughts and reminders...I'm going to chew on these for a while!