Recently, our pastor has begun a series on holiness as we are traveling through the book of Exodus. It is going to be a long, slow process but I think that is good considering holiness is so important to God and that we think about it so little.
One of the things that Charlie has expressed in his sermons has really been resonating with me. He said, “Holiness is not merely behavior but is a relationship.”
Now, as I said, I was raised in a most amazing home with godly parents. And my parents were brought up well in a godly church as well as good homes. But I’ve been realizing that my grandparents’ generation was much more legalistic than I am today. Some of what I valued as “holy” was merely “tradition” or “good behavior”. Not to say that there is something wrong with either of those things. I just think that I have put more stock in them than they deserved.
There have been many times in my life that I have been too judgmental about things that really weren't a holiness issue but a tradition issue. As I look at my children I see the mistakes that I have made and the few good things that I have taught them. But my heart has always longed to teach them this principle of holiness and relationship even if my life has not always done it.
It seems sometimes that I’ve gotten so caught up in making sure my kids’ behavior was reflecting my values that I’m afraid that I missed teaching them the most important thing: it is out of your relationship with Jesus that holiness bursts forth. We are not holy in and of ourselves. Only Jesus can do that in us.
I’m no biblical scholar but I’m pretty sure there are a lot more places in Scripture that talk about ‘out of the heart the mouth speaks’ and so forth than there are about ‘what you do says who you are’.
There are times that I grieve over the fact that things my parents would have frowned upon are pretty much overlooked in my home at times. My dad changed the channel at the first hint of a profanity. Sadly, we don’t always do that here. In fact, we almost never do that in our house. We've become so immune to evil that it doesn't affect us like it should.
And maybe I’m wrong about the things that I was taught being legalistic in my view. I guess what I was seeing was the relationship that my folks had with Jesus bearing its fruit in their lives and spilling over into our home. Perhaps it was merely my interpretation of it that made it legalistic. I think that maturity is finally kicking in for me and I’m learning to forgive people’s outward behavior more readily and looking for a way to spur them on to relationship.
I still goof up with my kids way too often but I certainly want them to know that I am much more concerned with their personal holiness via their relationships with Christ than I am about them saying and doing all the “right” things.
I'm not sure that this makes any sense to anyone but me but it has been on my mind the past few days so it is going in my blog.