The word holiness is often misunderstood and even more times misapplied. The term holy itself evokes images of cathedrals, priests, and large print bibles. Holy places, holy people, and holy books. Not only does the term holiness cause confusion, but its definition even gets misapplied. The term holiness means to live a consecrated or separated life. It’s the separation that seems to cause confusion. The Amish have claimed separation, but seem to struggle with their own humanity just as much as the next group of people. You can wear heavy black garments to cover the skin, but it will do little to cover the darkness of our own human nature. Clothing and religious garb give the feeling of separation, but still the human condition remains. What is often the reality is that many have chosen isolation rather than separation. Isolation allows me to find a level of comfort with myself and like minded group. Sure we have our problems, but it’s our problems and we don’t have to deal with the problems of others. However, it’s clear that isolation or being different for the sake of being different wasn’t the intention of scripture. We are most definitely to be in the world. We are called to engage the darkness, we are called to invade the wrong, we are even called to build our churches at the gates of hell. We are called to be in the world, just not of it. How do we become separate without become isolationist? I believe the answer lies in understanding separation. Many times people focus on what we are separated from. The list could go on forever, and just when you have the list complete something new comes along. Personally, I believe that a lot can be solved not by looking at what we are separated from, but what we are separated to. This isn’t meant to be a complete list, but here are 3 things that I feel every person has been called to be separated to:
1. I am separated to the call of God on my life. – This means that instead of trying to relive the glory days of my youth I will honor God’s call on my life. While many are trying to be fiercely young and independent in a season of life that calls for faithfulness and maturity, I will embrace the role that God has called me to play. I am called first to be a follower of Christ, secondly a husband to Heidi, thirdly a Dad to Mackenzie and Jadon, and Fourthly a Pastor to CoastLife Church. I am separated to these things. I embrace my role as believer, husband, father, pastor, and friend. My marriage isn’t supposed to end in divorce because I seek my own desires. My kids are not supposed to be abandoned to a personal agenda that outweighs parental responsibility. My church isn’t to be abandoned by a shepherd that chose lust, greed, or personal ambition over the needs of my flock.
2. I am separated to be salt and light in my community. – This means extra snacks. Hang with me for a minute. My beloved son in whom I am well pleased started kindergarten this year. He’s such a stud. He has come home each day reporting the friends he has discovered in his new class. The first day it was a report that he met a girl that was ticklish “all over.” He also learned that it’s a class rule to keep your hands to yourself. No more tickling. Soon he came home with the report of a friend that never had a snack. In his class the parents are supposed to put a snack in the student’s back pack in addition to the lunch they eat at school. Our son told us that his friend ate “old” food at home and didn’t have any money. I’m not for sure if the parents are neglectful or maybe just can’t afford the snacks, but I know one person who doesn’t care. My wife could care less about the cause, she only cares that a child doesn’t have a snack. I can guarantee you that there will be snacks a plenty for the remainder of the school year for that student. We are separated to do and be good in a world that is filled with bad. We have been taken out of the kingdom of darkness and separated into the kingdom of light. Let your light so shine that others may see and glorify your Father in heaven.
3. I am separated to be a worshipper of Jesus Christ. – This weekend me, my wife, and my children will be at church on Sunday. This won’t be the only Sunday we attend this month, in fact, we will be there next weekend barring sickness or other types of emergencies. We won’t attend sporadically, and we won’t just claim a title of christianity. We will leave our home, we will join with others of our faith, we will lift our hands in surrender, and we will worship Jesus. Any job that prevents me from doing this won’t be a job that I have for long. Any hobby that prevents me from doing this won’t be a hobby that I have for long. Any issue I have that prevents me from doing this, won’t be an issue for long. I am separated, called out, to be a part of body of people known as a church. In fact, the term church simply means people who have been called out to gather for religious purposes.
Holiness isn’t weird, holiness isn’t being different for different sakes, holiness isn’t isolation. It’s knowing what God has called you to and denying the world and sometimes even our own selves from robbing us of God’s great plan for our lives. Separated for what?