bits from bob....

Holiness: From the Top Down

by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

I have been thinking about how some things look different depending upon one's perspective. Flying to various places for ministry and mission efforts makes me aware that clouds look different from above than they do from beneath. Taking my car in for service reminds that my car looks different from the bottom than it does from the top. Parents and children have different perspectives on lots of things-taking medicine, eating healthy foods, and sleep schedules. An animal penned up to receive medical treatment or other necessary attention may not appreciate the good intentions of its owner-in fact, it may rebel and express its displeasure.

I wonder if that is how it is with us and God when it comes to holiness. What if we see holiness as a fence that prohibits our full freedom while God sees holiness as protection and helping us fulfill his will in our lives? What if we feel imprisoned when God intends us to feel fully free-free to do what we were put on earth to do? What if we feel that life is limiting but God sees that we are empowered to do what we really brings us fulfillment?

In 1 Peter 1, Peter describes God's work in our lives as giving us new birth, providing an imperishable inheritance, reserving our place, and shielding us. God is protecting us, even in trials and difficulties, so that our faith might reach its ultimate goal-our salvation. God puts us in a position where we can prepare for action, develop self-control, and learn hopeful grace. God puts us in a place where we can learn wise living and refuse evil desires. All this is evidence that God has made us for holiness-that he has set us apart for his special purpose and cause.

The work of God in our life to set us apart provides protection from the temptations and difficulties that would distract us. Sadly, we human beings do not always appreciate the help. We want to run free; we want to make our own choices with no protective barriers. We think the abundant life is about full exposure to all life has to offer. God knows that we function best in the green pastures by the still waters.

One of the most beautiful pictures of holiness in all of Scripture is Psalm 23. Read it again from a "holiness" perspective-not about restrictions and "thou shalt nots", but about the provision and protection of the Great Shepherd.

From God's perspective, holiness is a wonderful blessing he graciously bestows on his people. From a human perspective, holiness may seem limiting and restrictive. How do you see holiness? From the bottom up, or from the top down?

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Last updated December 28, 2010