The Push and Pull of Holiness

One man in Scripture hesitated and made a few excuses, but he never said “NEVER” to his calling! God sent Moses a blazing invitation to join him on holy ground.  This exclusive invitation allowed Moses to stand before Pharaoh to teach him a thing or two. (Exodus 3) God’s great desire was to rescue his chosen people from their captivity so that He could help them become a holy nation, a royal priesthood, and His special possession. Fortunately, God already had a gracious plan to help them become holy. 

But first, Moses needed to understand the holiness of God. There is none like Him. He is all-present, all-knowing, all-powerful, and eternal. He was, is, and will always be. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We in no way compare to the Almighty God because He is perfect. You and I could go on and on about His goodness! However, because of His great love for us, we have the honor and privilege of stepping into a gentle, lifelong process of holiness.

The place God chose for lighting up the famous bush for Moses was Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God. God called it “holy ground” and had Moses take off his sandals. But, it was not the PLACE that was holy. It was God’s PRESENCE that made it holy. Some say God asked Moses to remove his shoes because it showed respect and reverence. Others say it symbolized taking off his old life and entering a new one with a new purpose. While both surely seem trustworthy, I don’t think it’s too farfetched to also believe God wanted nothing standing between Him and Moses. The walk Moses was about to take would require his every step to feel the warmth of God’s presence and the power of His fire. He needed to be all in.

A perpetual push and pull of supreme holiness confounds each of us, just as it did Moses. On one hand, realizing the magnificence of God causes us to fall on our faces. We push away in fear because we know we are not worthy enough to be in His presence. Yet, on the other hand, our absolute wonder of Him mixes with His love for us and pulls us closer. He wraps us up so tightly that we never want to let go. We want all that He is. We want to be holy because He is holy, BUT … we know who we are. We know how we think, what we’ve done, and who we’ve hurt. We still feel the strong tug of sin on us. If we linger in those memories, discouragement sets in, opening our ears to Satan’s lies. We struggle with the instructions found in Hebrews 12:4, “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” 

I know you want to see the Lord, but do you ever wonder how such a holy God could expect us imperfect humans to become holy? What exactly is holiness? What are the criteria for being holy? Is Old Testament holiness different than what’s found in the New Testament? Is there a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to being holy?

We will spend the next few weeks pondering these questions and learning how to fully enjoy God’s presence. I hope your interest is piqued and you’ll travel along. 

“O nations of the world, recognize the Lord; recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts.Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. Tell all the nations, ‘The Lord reigns!’ The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly.”
(Psalm 96:7-10 NLT)

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