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.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
What does it mean to be holy? In what context have you sensed the holiness of God…and how did you respond?
In the next couple of weeks in this Peculiar People series, I want to tackle what it means to be holy...and what it's like to experience the holiness of God. There have been a few times for me, some very personal, but at times corporately as well.
Years ago I was at a large conference of believers. During the worship everyone began singing in the Spirit, or in tongues. Some musicologists believe that Gregorian chants have their roots in that practice. It makes me wonder; the commonalities certainly seem obvious. Hearing a massive group of people singing in different languages, in pitch, and go from a rise in cadence to a hushed awe—with no worship leader—had an amazing effect on me. It felt, well, holy.
Another time was in a meeting with someone who had a profound prophetic gift. He was prophesying over people, and reading their mail, as we used to say. Shaking his hand, I felt unnerved, uncovered, as if he could peer into my soul. It was particularly my sins of omission—my inward focus—that I feared would be exposed. Very strange. He was a kind man, though; there was no abuse of the gift. But to some degree I can only imagine how the disciples must have felt; several times the gospels note that “Jesus knew what they were thinking.” And remember: Jesus was untainted, filled with the Spirit without limit, as scripture says.
In another setting I was in a meeting where Dick Eastman spoke; it was shortly after his book on prayer came out: The Hour That Changes the World. I remember going forward for prayer and as he got near me my legs buckled; it was as if someone turned a switch off on my body. I was suddenly laying on my back facing the ceiling, not sure what happened. But there was a sense of being in a holy place, as if Power had stepped into the room. Fascinating.
What’s your story?
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5 (New International Version)
While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet. Daniel 8:18 (New Living Translation)
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah 6:1-5 (New International Version)