Week of September 1
The Holiness of God
Today we see many parents working hard to ensure their children fit in with their peers—spending beyond their means to provide the latest fashions and trendy technology for their children. They even compromise their standards to help their children blend in with the crowd. These parents have listened to the lie that being different is bad and unhealthy. Consequently, the next generation is being taught how to conform to peer pressure and is missing the vital lesson of how to stand against the culture.
We often praise God that we live in a free country, when in reality we are enslaved to conformity. We are enslaved to fads, fashions, and trends. We are enslaved to what others think of us. We are terrified to be different. What kind of freedom is that?
One of the greatest lies we believe is that it is better to be accepted by the group than to stand alone for being different. Yet being different is one of the core attributes of God Himself. God is holy. He is different and set apart from all of His creation. We cannot compare Him to anyone or anything else. "There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God" (1 Samuel 2:2). Our human goodness can never reach anywhere near God's perfection. God said, "‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?' says the Holy One" (Isaiah 40:25).
God wants all of His children to be different just like He is different. "It is God's will that you should be sanctified" (1 Thessalonians 4:3). God calls us to be different from the world, to stand against the immorality of our culture, to set ourselves apart from the secular.
God is different from humanity in so many ways—in His purity, His righteousness, and His inability to ignore sin. This is why our culture is so enraged about the holiness of God. They want a God who is like them, someone they can manipulate and will endorse their sinfulness. This is why these worldly people are dragging Christians into court rooms trying to remove all semblance of God's holiness from the Ten Commandments, from prayer in schools, from Bible studies—from anything that reminds them of the difference of God.
When we obey the will of God in our lives, we become different from the world around us. Different will not always be easy or popular, and some people will condemn or taunt us for our holiness. But others will notice that we have peace in the midst of trouble and joy in the midst of difficult circumstances. They will be curious about what sets us apart. When we seek purity, forgiveness, love, and compassion, we are imitating our heavenly Father and shining His light into this world.
When we forget that God's will for us is to be different and lose the vision of holiness for our lives, we easily fall into temptation. We begin rationalizing our sin. We start conforming to the image of the world instead of the image of Jesus. One of the greatest problems in churches is that we have lost the vision of the holiness of God.
Read Isaiah 6. This passage provides us a glimpse of God's glory in heaven that we cannot see on earth. His glory is hidden from view in our political system, in our schools, in our culture—yet right now in heaven, angels are awestruck by God and are worshiping Him. Angels who have not been tainted by human sin stand in holy fear and reverence of the holiness of God. What an incredible picture! This vision was so moving for Isaiah he said, "‘Woe to me!' I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty'" (Isaiah 6:5).
Every time we enter God's presence in praise and prayer, we should feel as humbled as the prophet Isaiah. We should stand in awe of His holiness. We should feel overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness. Have you lost sight of the majesty of God's holiness? Have you forgotten His call upon your life to live differently from the world? Spend time in prayer today praising Him for His holiness. Commit yourself to conforming yourself to Jesus and not the trendsetters of this world.
"And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.'"--Isaiah 6:3
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