April 29, 2020 Ashley Steelman

Holes In My Holiness

Holes In My Holiness

4 You are struggling against sin, but you have not had to give up your life for the cause. 5 You are children of God, and he speaks words of comfort to you. You have forgotten these words:

“My child, don’t think the Lord’s discipline is worth nothing,

    and don’t stop trying when he corrects you.

6 The Lord disciplines everyone he loves; he punishes everyone he accepts as a child.”

7 So accept sufferings like a father’s discipline. God does these things to you like a father correcting his children. You know that all children are disciplined by their fathers. 8 So, if you never receive the discipline that every child must have, you are not true children and don’t really belong to God. 9 We have all had fathers here on earth who corrected us with discipline. And we respected them. So it is even more important that we accept discipline from the Father of our spirits. If we do this, we will have life. Hebrews 12:4-9

Holy Moly! This week’s message  “The Journey: Don’t Go Back” was a tough one for me. It felt kinda like when you got in trouble, got a spanking, and then your mom or dad sent you to your room to “think about what you did.” This message from 1 Peter 1:13-19 really required that I take a long hard look at my life in contrast to the life we are called to live. What I discovered is this:

 My holiness is full of holes.

In so many areas of our lives, we are reflections of our culture’s expectations instead of our Savior’s. We have either decided the scriptures aren’t relevant, are wrong, or worse -we have chosen to just go against what we know is right. 

This message was a call to self-reflection as well as a reminder that Jesus is not just my savior but also my Lord.

  • The way we talk & dress 
  • What we watch on TV or listen to in our earbuds 
  • How we treat others 
  • What we post on social media 
  • How we spend our money
  • Our sexual and racial ethics 
  • The overall direction of our lives 

In these areas, do we just go with the flow or do we actively contrast those things against the backdrop of scripture? Everything in our lives should be informed and directed by those verses. We can’t be satisfied with holiness that is full of holes. We need to strive for a holiness that is entire and complete and extends to every area of our lives. Obedience to God is not an option. 

One Bad Apple Spoils The Bunch

In the book of Haggai, a prophet had an important message for the Jews who had recently returned from exile. They had forgotten their God, choosing instead to focus on their own interests, so it was time for them to “consider their ways”. Nothing was more important for the Jews than to show that the Lord was at the center of their thoughts and actions, so Haggai directed them to finish rebuilding God’s temple.

There were voices in Jerusalem saying that the time was not right for God’s house to be rebuilt. They were in a time of recession, their crops were not producing well, and the burden of a new temple was too much.

The Lord’s response was to ask if the time was good enough for them to live in relative ease and continue to ignore God’s service.

God gave them something to consider: could it be that their present circumstances were a direct result of their disobedience.

Haggai gave the example of an Israelite who carried meat in his pocket that had been set apart for use in the temple. The garment was considered holy because of what it carried, but that holiness could not be transferred to something else. In contrast, unholiness or something that was unclean would pollute whatever it touched.

That tells me something about how carefully we gotta live in this world. 

It’s kinda like little boys. They always come home dirtier than when they left. Dirt, grass, and bicycle grease all seem to attach themselves to active boys. It seemed like my boys were always sticky and stinky and if there was a mud hole within 100 miles they were gonna find it. The only way to keep them clean is to keep them away from the dirt.

The people of Haggai’s day weren’t covered in mud but in disobedience and selfishness. Haggai said their cleanup would start when they put God first. Only then would God’s favor return. Holiness leads to blessing.

Obedience to God is hard—but it’s worth it.

The book of Haggai seems pretty unique among the books of Old Testament prophets for one key reason: the people of Judah actually listened! Haggai’s message to rebuild the temple was passionate, simple, and straightforward (Haggai 1:8). Through the physical act of rebuilding God’s house, the people began to shift from devotion to self toward devotion to God.

Haggai didn’t just leave them alone with the job of rebuilding. He kept preaching to the Jews, encouraging them with hope for the future. According to Haggai’s message, if the people would place God at the center of their lives, they would realize the future blessings that God had in store for His people.

These guys had a lot coming against them. Ezra 4:1-5 tells us about the pressures and scare tactics and all the external opposition they faced, but Haggai focused on the internal opposition- namely from their own sin. The Jews had placed their own interests before the Lord’s interests, looking after their own safety and security without giving consideration to God.

Haggai’s encouragement to rebuild the temple in the face of opposition and the Jews’ selfishness reminds me of Peter’s call to holiness to a people who have been and are facing persecution and suffering for their faith in Christ. It also reminds me of Paul’s encouragement to Christians in 1 Corinthians 3:10–17 to build our lives on the foundation of Jesus. 

Holey Moly! Pastor’s message in “The Journey: Don’t Go Back” was a hard one to hear. However, I still think it is a message of encouragement. It makes us take a deeper look at our lives- not so that we can feel low down and worthless, but to help us ask questions that will ultimately lead us to a deeper relationship with God. 

Are you living a life of holiness or is your holiness full of holes? Are you building a life that reflects that you are a temple of the Holy Spirit, leaving a foundation that will stand the test of time? 

13-16 So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”

17 You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.

 18-21 Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God. 1 Peter 1:13-19 MSG