Another Look by David Faust
Assembling at the house of worship, or going fishing with friends? Celebrating a sacred holiday, or walking through a shopping center? Going to a dinner party with individuals known for their sexual immorality and questionable business ethics, or eating at the home of a prominent religious leader?
Which is holier—preaching a powerful sermon or telling a folksy story? Attending a baptism, or celebrating with a bride and groom at their wedding? Is it holier to teach a Bible lesson in the worship assembly, or to cook breakfast for friends outdoors by the lake? To work with your hands in a small-town carpentry shop, or travel around preaching the gospel?
Is it holier to feast in the city or to fast in the desert? To go off by yourself for an extended time of prayer, or to throw yourself into public ministry, teaching and serving the poor and the sick? Is it holier to stay up all night praying, or to stretch out and take a nap in a boat?
Does a leader demonstrate holiness by discussing theology with the elders, or by taking time to talk with children? Does he lead through dramatic acts of personal courage, or by steadily training and nurturing a small group of potential leaders to carry on the work after he’s gone?
Does a holy life put us into situations where others will appreciate and praise us, or into situations where we will be misunderstood and falsely accused? Does it mean challenging others or comforting them? Does it mean responding firmly to criticism, or remaining silent and letting the chips fall where they may? Does a holy person cry a sympathetic tear when confronted by grief, or let his anger show when faced with injustice?
Does a holy person honor his parents, or does he insist that love for God takes precedence even over one’s family? Does holiness mean respecting the laws of the land, or honoring God as the supreme authority?
Does holiness cause us to plead from our knees, “Father, if it be your will, let this cup pass from me,” or does it make us lift our hands victoriously toward Heaven and pray, “Father, glorify your name”? Does it lead us to the cross or to the empty tomb?
Holiness isn’t either/or, it’s both/and. When we think of holiness, we should think of Jesus. He lived it. He demonstrated and defined it. No one ever lived a holier life than he did.
For Jesus, holiness was a continual lifestyle, not an intermittent religious experience. His anger was holy, but so was his joy. He was just as committed to the Father on a fishing boat as he was in the temple. He was the same person at a party with tax collectors and prostitutes as he was when he dined at a Pharisee’s house. His heart was pure when he talked alone with a woman and when he camped out with a group of men.
Holiness isn’t something we wear to church like an uncomfortable suit and tie and then breathe a sigh of relief when we get home and slip into a T-shirt and jeans. Christians are set apart to honor God wherever we are and whatever we do. So let’s quit dividing our lives into phony compartments labeled “spiritual” and “secular.” Let’s stop talking as if faith has nothing to do with the “real world” of work, government, money, and business. “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”
(1 Corinthians 10:31).
He is Lord of all.