September Newsletter

Holiness: A Relational Framework

In several places in the Bible, the beauty of holiness is mentioned. This perfectly describes what holiness is: all of the beauty, the thriving moments, creation itself coming from the beauty of God’s nature, which is his holiness. It is wholeness. It is completion. Every one of the mature moments of your life, every moment that you love, comes from this place of God’s holiness. He creates everything out of his nature … and he is holy.
“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”
— 1 Chronicles 16:29 KJV

“Shout Bravo! to his famous Name, lift high an offering and enter his presence! Stand resplendent in his robes of holiness.” — 1 Chronicles 16:29 MSG

The author of Chronicles knew what holiness was. Shout bravo! You have this kind of enthusiasm toward life and God when you are immersed in a life filled with his nature.

The current worldwide church has had a stumbling block when it comes to holiness, because we are preoccupied with becoming right or morally pure as our primary goal when seeking God. We see holiness as sinlessness, but holiness is actually wholeness. People occupied with wholeness don’t focus on morality as a first priority; they focus on living in fullness, on thriving, and on growing their connection to God, themselves, and the world around them. The words that express holiness in the Bible have a moral emphasis, but morality is secondary to the beautiful emphasis of living connected to the beauty of who God is.

When used by biblical writers, the word “holy” basically means “set apart.” To be holy is to be set apart by God, to God, for God. Think of it like this: I am holy to my wife, Cherie. I am set apart to and for her. No more dating around for me. The day I entered Christ, God set me apart to him. Now that I’m also set apart for Cherie, I now get to walk in total connection to her and protect that connection at all cost. I am not focused on what happens if I fail the connection; I am focused on thriving in the connection. I don’t look at other women, nor do I consider spending time on things that don’t involve building our life together—they’re nothing but a waste of time.
Marriage is such a picture of what being set apart looks like. If you were preoccupied with not having an affair during your whole marriage instead of focusing on building your love and connection, then you would rob your marriage from the safety and sanctity of what it is: an institute of love and trust. What we focus on, we become. What we treasure holds our heart.

God set me apart from my old nature and gave me a new nature (Romans 6:6). He made me holy. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Verse 17 says the temple of God is holy and I am that temple.
If we are the habitation place of God, then our core nature will continuously be changing to become like him. We will see changes in our entire method of making choices in relation to self, others, and God. The beauty of holiness is not in getting everything right all the time, it is in allowing our connection with God to change our nature so that we will say yes to love. It’s in learning that our yes to something actually causes us to say no to other things.
In other words, if you are saying yes to spending time with your kids, there are other things competing for that time that your old man would deem more enjoyable, more worthy, more restful. But when you have a commitment of love to your children, the beauty of holiness in your yes and the beauty of God’s nature in your yes causes your desires to change. You are no longer looking out for yourself alone—what you’d enjoy or win kudos for—your children are now in the equation, and that changes the nature of what you will spend time on and focus on. Then you begin to protect this time at the expense of other things. This can be true with purity issues as well–before you started to connect to God, you allowed yourself to do all kinds of things, but after you realized who God is and that he has chosen you, it is hard to not change. This comes because you are saying yes to God, and when you say yes to God, you are saying no to something in yourself or in the world.
When I make my job schedule, I have to schedule in all the family priorities first, then I schedule in our church activities, and then I schedule in my work life—after I am confident that I can meet my priorities. Many things come up that are wonderful things, but to walk in the purity of true holiness or wholeness, to be set apart, I have to maintain my yes to my priorities by saying no to even good things. Holiness isn’t just saying no to sin; it is also protecting your yes to what is most right for you so you can walk into a thriving life.

I spoke a message at our home church recently that will take you further into your pursuit of holiness, and I want to send it to you today. You can E58 LiveStream it or get the E58 Podcast.
After you listen, make sure to email us and tell us what you think!

Until next month,
Shawn Bolz


Be sure to read Shawn’s new Ministries Today Article, Directed by God, in Ministry Today Magazine.

Shawn will be hosting Dreams and Mysteries this fall. The first episode airing October 11th! Makes sure you tune in!

Where is Shawn off to next? Click ITINERARY to see and get live streaming to some of his events!

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