Tone can play a big role in how the words are interpreted. The used tone of voice can even totally change the meaning of the words spoken. This is true also when it comes to the Bible. I had always thought the commandment “Be holy!” was said sternly. But what if it was whispered in love? Then it is an invitation to intimacy with God. That does change everything, doesn’t it?
“Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.'” (Leviticus 19:2, NIV)
Just thinking about God whispering to me “be holy” touches my heart. God wants us to be holy so we could truly be united with him who is holy. God craves to be intimate with us. He wants us to be one with him. His love for us is beyond wonderful.
God’s plan has all along been for us to be holy. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. (Eph. 1:4,NLT) Holiness is a gateway into intimacy with God. Hence the commandment to be holy is a message of love, it’s an invitation to intimacy with God.
With the words of C. S. Lewis “The instrument through which you see God is your whole self. And if a man’s self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred.” We don’t want that, do we?
…intimacy with God
If we want to be intimately connected to God, we need to be holy because he is holy. Thankfully, God knows we can’t be holy on our own, no matter how hard we’d try. That’s why he sent Jesus and that’s why Jesus gifted us the Holy Spirit. Holiness happens because of the Holy Spirit in us.
It’s wise to remember what Kevin DeYoung points out “Holiness is not ultimately about living up to a moral standard. It’s about living in Christ and living out of our real, vital union with him.” Holiness is fruitfulness.
How blessed it is that God is not a tyrant forcing holiness from us. Rather he whispers an invitation to vital union with him. And then he even empowers us to become holy by his own grace.
How do we respond to God? I hope we take God up on his invitation and seek holiness so we can bear more fruit and have deeper intimacy with him. We have nothing to lose but things that drag us down. And we have everything to gain. Hallelujah!
Forgive us for thinking you as a tyrant when you’re nothing but love.
Help us to see you always want what’s best for us.
We say yes to you and to your invitation to intimacy with you.
Fill us with the Holy Spirit and make us holy like you.
In Jesus’ name,
I just love this idea of our Heavenly Father whispering an invitation to intimacy to us. He wants what’s best for us so he guides us to holiness. How blessed we are!