Before I begin this post I'm going to share something our pastor often says, "Illustrations are good, but eventually they fall apart." I agree with him...I'm a big fan of analogies and illustrations, but I know we can't ever completely compare earthly pictures to spiritual Truths. I pray the picture I paint in the post to come provides a good illustration for you, but want you to know it's not exclusive. So with that a lesson from my fair lambs...
Growing up I was involved in 4-H and showed sheep at our county fair. This was a project that made me nervous (early on I feared getting drug around the ring) and one that always made me money - our ribbon auction bidders were very generous! Thru the years, I learned much from my woolly little animals, but just recently God may have taught me the most important lesson.
I've been knee deep in a study on holiness...it's a broad topic of utter importance. It's a word we hear in church, sing about at worship and perhaps struggle to understand. The song that's been on my heart has the title, "What do I know of holy?" And that's the question that's been on my mind. Thankfully, my answer is better now than it was a month ago.
Let me ask you - "What do you know of holy?"
Friend, we will each answer that quite uniquely, but the important thing is to have a better understanding of God's holiness with each step we take on our walk of faith. That will happen as we seek Him and can happen as we study His Word. I'm praying now that God will give you the desire to dig in and understand this better...there is much to share, but I'll start with a lesson from my lambs.
In order to take market lambs to the county fair in June we had to weigh them in during early spring. It was then my dad would help my sisters and I select the ones he thought were the best. We'd weigh them, give them a special ear tag and record their number. Often we'd bring them home and put them back in the same pen. The only difference between them and the others was their new piercing. A couple months would go by and we'd put all the fair lambs in a pen of their own. We'd feed them a bit more specifically and start training them to lead and stand. It was then when we'd give them names and start to grow attached. Eventually, fair week would arrive and we'd get out the Woolite so we could wash them and prep for the big show. Weigh-ins would happen, fair goers would come and ribbons would be passed out. Then the fair was over and our lambs would be sold.
So, you might be wondering what this has to do with holiness. That's a great question and I pray I give you a good answer. In a way, we as believers are like the fair lambs. We too are set apart for a special purpose - we're not trying to win a purple ribbon, but instead have been chosen to bring God glory. God doesn't give us a special mark, but His Son's hands hold the piercings that change our lives forever. Initially on-lookers might not notice a difference between us and the rest of the world, but as time goes by and God's transformational work begins, change happens. We must feed on His Word and be trained by His Truth. Our Father in heaven has a relationship with us, He knows our name and equips us for our purpose. He doesn't use a special soap, but He washes us white as snow. God isn't preparing us for a one time show, but instead a daily walk. And unlike the fair lambs that go to market just like all the others, we as believers are destined for our eternal home in heaven.
Friend, holiness doesn't have to be a complicated topic, but it shouldn't be an overlooked one either. This is mentioned 611 times in Scripture and over 80 times in the book of Leviticus. In simple terms it means set apart, without sin and sacred. Some consider it the greatest attribute of God and it's not one we inherit when we are created in His image. For example, all people have the capacity for love and joy, but only those born again and filled with the Spirit have the call, command and capacity to be holy.
1 Peter 1:13-16 says, "Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"
I read this verse and it started a journey for me. I've been on a quest to understand holiness better and as I study His Word I have a growing desire to live it out more. I encourage you to do the same. Pray about this, look for it as you read God's Word. John 17:17 says, "Sanctify them by your Truth, your Word is Truth." We can't be holy if we don't read God's Word. God will hear your prayers and give you the desire of your heart. I'll warn you the journey won't be easy - it will bring you to your knees and will leave tears in your eyes. Seeing His holiness opens our eyes to sin, but it's worth it and what we need if holiness is our desire. I pray you will join me back here next week when I continue looking at this topic and share a short study with you.
Until then I pray we each live out this high calling of holiness! Blessings to you friend! For all my fellow believers be thankful you're set apart and keep pressing on to win the prize!! Trust me it's much better than the old fair ribbons I have in a box!