Multicolor Monday: Sharing exhortation and inspiration from other members of the body of Christ, that we may all benefit from the gifts God has given them. (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12)
When you hear the word “holiness”, do you picture a somber-looking individual with their hands folded in prayer? For a long time, that was one of my go-to pictures…along with words like aloof, impossible to attain, boring, and very religious.My thoughts are changing as I read the Bible and hear perspective from others. Here are thoughts about holiness from two writer friends of mine, godly women whose words inspire me in my faith journey.
The first is Ginger Harrington, who I met at a writer’s conference several years ago and participated with in an online critique group.
From Ginger’s book, Holy in the Moment, last chapter:
Something sacred and utterly beautiful emerges as we discover how to live in our identity in Christ. It’s called joy. And freedom. And an abundance of grace.
It’s called holiness. And it’s through choosing holy in the moment that sets us free to love God and savor life in the fullness of Christ. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength – with all you’ve got and all you are. Stay connected to His heart with holy motivation and keep choosing to rely on Christ. Remember you can trust God with your spiritual growth because He is in the process of putting you together, holy and whole – spirit, soul, and body. So be free. Be you. Be holy.
The second is Tabitha Caplinger, who I met when we both published books at the same publisher, and then in person a few weeks ago (it’s awesome to meet someone in person who you’ve only known online!)
From Tabitha’s Facebook page (shared with permission):
I’m currently reading through the book of Ephesians. This morning had me in chapter five verses 1-7. Paul is giving instruction here for how to live and how to not live. Being imitators of Christ. Mainly, I think, it’s a call to holiness though it doesn’t use the word.
One of the final verses in this little excerpt spoke of not being deceived and it sparked a thought in my mind.
How often are we deceived by those who are well-meaning in their talk of grace? They (meaning to or not) push back the line of holiness and we too often go along with it because we believe in grace and we believe in God’s unconditional love for us. (And if we’re honest because it means less work and change on our part.) I believe in grace and I believe wholly in God’s love for us, that they are necessary and life changing. But when the line of holiness is pushed (or erased completely) we don’t realize it leaves grace empty.
We say, “oh you’re heading toward legalism.” But holiness isn’t legalism. It’s not man-made rules. Holiness is being more like Jesus and honoring Him with our lives (thoughts, speech, attitudes and actions). We need holiness. Christ tells us to be holy as He is holy. We are not without grace, but the grace isn’t to justify shortcomings, it is the grace we need to do the work. It’s grace that gives us strength to do, and love that gives us sight to see the areas where “others may but we may not.” Grace and holiness are not opposites but partners.
PS: when I am more like Jesus I have more of His grace and love to extend to others. And that is what I extend to them and He does the work of transformation and holiness in their life.
My takeaway from what they wrote:
Holiness is about learning to walk in God’s grace as we choose to do things His way, moment by moment. Growing in holiness is about intentionally making choices that bless and honor God so He can work in us to grow us up and through us to bless others. It’s about learning to walk in more of God’s grace every day as you invest in your relationship with Him.
Holiness is the result of a lifestyle dedicated to becoming more like Jesus by obeying His commands and living out of our true identity in Him.
Thank you, Ginger and Tabitha, for sharing your thoughts on holiness. I hope their words help you, my readers, as much as they helped me!
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16, NIV)
To find out more about Ginger and Tabitha, visit their websites.
Ginger Biggs Harrington: www.gingerharrington.com
Tabitha Morehouse Caplinger: www.tabithacaplinger.com