It was late on a Friday night a few years ago. I had a long day at work, a 45 minute drive home, it was cold and raining and all I wanted was oreo cookies. I walked into Walmart with a plan to get the cookies and get home. As I was walking back to the cookies, I heard a voice yelling, “Courtney, Courtney get over here. Courtney, we are going, get over here.” And she kept yelling it over and over and over. The closer I got to the yelling, the more annoyed I got. As I reached the aisle Courtney was in, I stopped and said loudly, “Courtney, get over here, you mother is ready to go.”
Now I was expecting to see a six year old come running, so I was quite surprised when Courtney turned out to be a teenager. She did come quite quickly then and asked her Mom who I was as they walked away. Her Mom hurried her out, ready to be gone. This is not a moment I am particularly proud of, nor is it really part of my nature, but it happened.
I have been studying holiness in the Bible recently. It has a lot to say about our journey to holiness and shows just how difficult it is. One particular passage really caught my attention.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5.
There was nothing about my behavior that night that had even a smidgeon of Christ in it. I made a scene for no good reason, embarrassed a young girl and her mother, again for no good reason. And, worst of all, there was no evidence at all that I love Jesus. I was not even close to holiness.
Philippians 2 goes on to say in verses 14 and 15:
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”
So to be clear, there is no grumbling and I’m to be pure and without fault. Ugh! That is a tough mandate! This would mean not allowing myself to be sucked into someone’s outrage of the moment. It means never having negative thoughts to the drivers that pull out in front of me and go 10 miles under the speed limit. It means not complaining when my fast food order is wrong. It means losing the desire to always be right.
I find it so interesting that Paul was warning the Philippians how important it was to be the light of Jesus in a “crooked and depraved generation.” This holds so true for us today. Paul is telling us that what we do matters in the world we live in. There is so much anger, bitterness and even hatred, in our world today, our quest to be holy is what makes us different – it’s what makes a difference in this often depraved world. It is what is needed to set us apart from the chaos of today, just like the young missionaries of Philippi needed to hear this passage to face their own immoral generation.
While I know that I will never achieve perfect holiness this side of heaven, I really want to strive to be pure and blameless without grumbling and arguing. That is the best way to be a beacon in a dark world . #inthewhisper #holiness