Tripping Toward Holiness

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 Peter 1:15-16

Holy.

Set apart.

Consecrated.

I picture beautiful stained glass windows and majestic people dressed in white.

Perfect.

Spotless.

Focused only on Him.

Then I look in the mirror,

 walk through my house,

 check my email,

 look at my calendar,

and feel like “holy” is something saved for only a chosen few.

Not that my life is filled with a lot of bad things……………..

but it’s definitely filled with a lot of “other” kinds of things.

And can’t “other” be just as bad as “bad”?

I understand Paul when he wrote these words,

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

I Tim. 1:15

I fall short every day.

And sometimes I almost fall right down.

The journey through my house often involves tripping over a dog or stepping over a backpack or maneuvering around dog food that has been scattered across our kitchen floor.

Our oldest dog struggles just to reach her dog dish.

When she finally does, she often flips the dish, spilling the food as she eats and then dragging it away with her as she goes.

 dog food

The simple act of eating is hard for Snoopy these days,

and when I stop and think about her struggle and her scattered dog food,

I can’t help but wonder,

“Is spiritual eating getting hard for me too?”

Bending down to His Word, reaching it, and really chewing it up……………..

it can be so messy.

Bible

When Nick died, I made a commitment to God that I would read through the Bible every single year until I was with him again.

So I often plow through passages about Old Testament sacrifices and the acts required of the Israelites in order to be considered “clean”,

cringing as I read,

while my mind wanders to the lesson I need to write

and the photo shoot I need to schedule

and the friend I need to call.

Slow down, Tammy.

No matter how hard I try, though, it always gets messy………………..

Maybe the messiness of realizing holiness takes work is exactly what I need to be chewing on this morning.

Holiness has nothing to do with inspirational posts or writing a decent blog post or making better decisions than someone else who may just need a hug and a kind word instead of a judgmental glance.

Holiness is about cleansing myself.

No one else is called to do that work and that work alone is enough for me…………..every single day.

I am my own mess.

And I have to own it.

Today, the sacrifices and cleansing practices of the Israelites

are the shoes dropped right inside our family room door.

shoes

Stepping over them or around them is the only way to move on………………..

and

getting from once place to the next definitely takes more effort when things are in the way.

Maybe God wanted the journey to meet Him filled with obstacles and requirements and expectations so that His people knew He was worth it.

Maybe He wanted the Israelites to understand this truth:

Holiness is worth the journey……………even though it’s hard.

Maybe the endless cleaning up of scattered dog food is His gentle reminder to me that………………..

Life will always be messy and there’s no quick way to become holy.

____________________________________

Slow down, Tammy.

The clock is ticking but the hands keep coming right back around.

Soak up this moment.

Holiness isn’t a drive-thru experience.

It’s a candlelight dinner.

A table set for two.

Don’t we take time to prepare for these kind of encounters?

And want them to last forever?

I’ll never look in the mirror and feel holy………………

and this morning, I’m suddenly thankful.

Because the minute I feel holy is the minute I stop doing the work of bending down and making a mess.

And without the bending and the mess-making,

I fake myself into believing I’ve got this…………………

when deep inside I know I don’t.

So the journey to holiness is one I hope will always be filled with shoes and backpacks and scattered dog food,

because I don’t ever want to stop doing the work that leads to Him.

Consecrate yourselves and be holy,

because I am the LORD your God.

Lev. 20:7

I am the LORD your God;

consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.

Lev. 11:44

And a highway will be there;

it will be called the Way of Holiness;

it will be for those who walk on that Way.

Isaiah 35:8

If you’re finding it hard to be holy,

keep tripping your way toward Him who truly is.

Thank Him for the obstacles that cause you to stop along the way,

because slowing down is often the only real way to move forward.

And He’s definitely worth the time and the work.

 

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