Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For the Lord is our defense; and the Holy One is our King.”
Psalm 89: 18
“Hallowed be Thy name.”
“A true love of God must begin with a delight in His holiness.”
“Hallowed” – To honor and respect. To set apart as holy.
What does it mean to me to be “holy?”
“If we go down into ourselves we find that we possess exactly what we desire.”
Many years ago, before I was married and when I was still attending university, I was preparing to go out on a date with a fellow classmate. As I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror, fixing my make-up and putting the last touches on my hair, I’ll never forget the feeling that came over me and the question I asked myself. “Why are you going out with this guy?” To this day, I still can’t figure out why I wasted several months of my life dating this person. If you had asked my parents what they thought of him, they would have told you he was a “jerk”! He didn’t treat me nicely – in fact, he didn’t treat anybody nicely. While he was extremely smart, he was arrogant, impressed with himself and definitely dismissive of others whom he felt were “inferior.” Now I ask you, “What would possess a girl like me to date a guy like that?” Or, if you are a man who comes to Transformation Garden, “What would possess you to date a woman who treated you in a disrespectful manner?”
Well, I want to let you in on a little insight I learned during this dating debacle. The reason I allowed such disrespectful treatment of myself was that I didn’t respect anything or anyone bigger than myself, at the time. At that particular point in my life, while I certainly believed there was a God, I didn’t want Him meddling in my everyday life because I felt I could take care of myself just fine. I was young, healthy, energetic, fun – I had my world under control and I didn’t need anybody telling me what to do – especially a deity who was way up in the heavens. My motto was – “Keep Your distance, God!” I thought I was doing great on my own – until a moment of truth when I looked in a mirror and while the outside looked pretty great – the inside of a young college girl was crumbling apart! God’s call to holiness was a world away from my feeling of emptiness.
Has this happened to you? Something is missing. You feel that the outside shell is polished but there’s nothing inside at all!
If misery loves company – take heart! You are not alone. In fact, one of the most fascinating people in the Bible, David, had a very similar experience in his life. He records his personal moment of insight in Psalm 22. David begins by saying to God, “My God, why have you forsaken me…why are you so far from me? I cry and you don’t listen.” And then, as if he had this “aha” moment -- he says, “But, Thou art holy! And I am a worm.” Now let me be quick to point out, God doesn’t want us to feel like worms. He doesn’t want us to act like worms. He doesn’t want us to grovel on the ground before Him. It was David who didn’t respect himself – not God who didn’t respect David. David’s, “I can do it on my own, I’m a big king, I’m so capable,” attitude is what got him into trouble. He thought he was such a big shot he didn’t need anybody else in his life. And this is the same exact reason, I thought I didn’t need anybody. But in the end, it is also the reason I would go out with someone who had no respect for me.
You see, when I had no one in my life to look up to – no one bigger than myself whom I respected – I chose to accept behavior toward myself that was no better than the level I was on! And God knew this about me. So did He say, “Well, Dorothy, stay the way you are. Seek people who are at your level?” No! Thankfully, He invited me to come up to where He was. He called me into a world where His holiness reigns supreme.
Perhaps you’ve been a little frightened when you heard the word “holiness.” Possibly you have felt God’s holiness was something you could never attain to.
Well, I’d like to give you some other thoughts to roll around in your minds on the subject of “holiness.” Obviously, being holy must be important to God because in the “perfect” prayer that Jesus gave His disciples, we are reminded at the very beginning that Our Father in Heaven is holy. Or as the dictionary defines “hallowed” – our Father is to be respected. I love that view of holiness – respecting my Father. When I choose to “look up,” to hold in highest regard my Father, I will act differently toward myself. I will respect myself. And I will want those I associate with to respect me, too. This isn’t arrogant pride. This is Heaven’s gift of self-respect based on the respect we have for the holiness of our Father. This is why, in the Lord’s Prayer, our Father reminds us – right at the beginning, that we are called to come up, not to be dragged down. We are to look up to Heaven, not down to earth. Best of all, when we behold God’s holiness, when we respect Him – we will be changed through and through. I find the words of English theologian, Philip Sheldrake so insightful. “Holiness is a continual movement towards God.” Isn’t that great? Holiness isn’t something to fear – it’s something to long for. God’s holiness – the respect I have for my Father, is what will change my life – for by beholding God I will be changed to be like Him. By looking up with respect for my Father, I will look in the mirror and have respect for myself.
Helder Camara writes that there is one particular view or definition of holiness that means so much to him: “Being holy means getting up when you fall…It doesn’t mean never falling into sin. It means being able to say, ‘Yes, Lord, I have fallen a thousand times. But thanks to You I have gotten up again a thousand and one times.’ That’s all.”
Do you want to respect yourself? Then look up to “Our Father, who art in heaven.” Remember His name, His person is holy. And when you and I respect God’s holiness, we will be led to respect ourselves, as well.
“So far fallen!
Oh, gather me in,
Hold me tight
In Your warm embrace;
Grasp me in
Your tender grace.
So far fallen!
Raise me up,
Reach for me
From the stars above;
Oh, let me rest
In Thy holiness.”
A Mystical Heart
“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But delivers us from the evil one.”
Matthew 6: 9-13
New International Version
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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