The Names of God


  The Holy One

         "I am the Lord, your Holy One...." Isaiah 43:15

         "Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15

T ake off your shoes, for this is holy ground."

As quietly as she spoke, Kay knelt on the rug by the coffee table and slipped off her sandals. Quickly, I followed her example.

Then the small white-haired disciple began to talk with her best Friend. Her words brought indelible images of my Lord's incomparable glory and perfections, His forgiving love and His absolute righteousness. Drawn from His Word, they warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

To this altogether holy and lovely King, Kay lifted all the concerns we had shared. How natural it was to see and confess our sins in the presence of such perfect love. How wonderful to know that we were "born again" to live and walk in His Kingdom forever. I sensed I had entered into another dimension of life-- indeed, I had! And I didn't want to leave.

An hour earlier, when I first rang the bell and waited by Kay's front door, hope and fear had mingling in my mind. How could this wonderful woman want to spend time with me? To quiet my beating heart, I had silently prayed the words from a hymn I had just memorized: Make me a blessing, make me a blessing; out of my life, let Jesus shine!  I longed to give something in return for Kay's kindness to me. She had invited me for lunch, but I hungered to know how to pray, grow, follow my Lord and minister to His people.

I had come as a new Christian, bringing a long list of questions. With quiet sensitivity, Kay answered each one, always pointing me to Jesus and His Word. Full of wonder, I listened, so aware of God's holy life and wisdom in Kay. Unhurried, we read His Word and prayed it back to Him, trusting that He would fill and lead us as we surrendered our lives to Him. Then we knelt together--without shoes.

I left her house with a heart full of joy and a deepening hunger to understand what He meant by the words, "Be holy as I am holy."  But as my mind drifted to recent failures, His call seemed impossible. Indeed, it was. My hope rested on His promise: "Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Since then, God's gentle training has led me through years of study and prayer in His Word. Yet, the more I learn about His holiness, the more distant seems the goal. After all, His holiness is His absolute perfection. It is the sum and completion of all His other attributes. It separates Him from all that is not holy and perfect: while, paradoxically, it makes holy whatever He touches by His very presence. It is the essence of His being, the excellence of His character. How could I even think of sharing in such perfection?

The more I longed to walk in His footsteps, the more I saw my own rebellious heart and stubborn will. The harder I tried to obey His call to "be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15), the worse I seemed to perform. My heart could only echo the cry from the apostle Paul's own heart: "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do." Romans 7:15

When I would "behold" my Holy Lord in His Word, I would also see myself in all my imperfections. For His pure light exposes all my darkness. No wonder Isaiah cried out at the sight of God's holiness, "Woe is me, for... I am a man of unclean lips." (Isaiah 6:5)  He recognized that his own impurity was totally incompatible with the penetrating purity of the God before him. But the Holy One touched his unclean lips and in a moment made holy that which was not. God Himself made His faithful prophet fit to fulfill His holy purpose. 

The same holy God is molding today's disciples for His purposes. Through His death, Jesus Christ has cleansed us from sin and freed us from bondage to its power over us. By identification with His resurrection, we can walk and live by His holy life in us. He accomplished it all!  "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) As Paul wrote, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me...." Galatians 2:20

I still fail daily. But my Lord never fails, and He is my holiness as well as my strength and provider. Because I have been joined to Him through the cross, I share in His holy character and identity. I have been made holy, even when my walk with Him reflects my faithlessness.

But I long to walk each moment by faith. My failures have taught me that I can't do it by my own strength or will. Only Christ can keep me from falling and make me fit for His purpose. He often uses loss, aloneness, pain and persecution to accomplish that goal. My part is to keep on trusting Him, confessing my weakness, and surrendering my life to the Holy One who will conform my daily walk to His high calling.

In Old Testament days, God's precious people would consecrate themselves to His service. Now, I, too, choose to separate myself from all that is incompatible with His character and present myself to Him as an offering "holy and acceptable" for His purpose. "Clothed in Christ" -- the Holy One -- I worship my King who fills me with His wonderful holy life.

There's no requirement to kneel in His presence. His children live by faith, not by rules. Yet, for me, the simple act of bowing down before Him became a special way to remember the holiness of the Lord I love. Somehow, it stills my mind, shuts out distractions and lifts my heart into that place of peace where, alone with Him, I can best delight His presence.

"...we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Precious Father, remind me always to drink from the life-giving fountain of Your holy life. Separate me from all that would displease or dishonor You. Enable me to keep your Name holy before the host of earthly and heavenly observers. Let me be all yours -- every moment. Thank you, my Lord and my King. 

References:  Leviticus 11:44, 19:2, 20:26; 1 Chronicles 16:29; Job 42:3, 5-6; Habakkuk 1:13, 2:20; John 6:69; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Ephesians 1:4, 4:23-24; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Peter 1:15-16, 2:9; Revelation 4:8, 11, 15:4.

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