by Marjorie Wingert
Rain tap-taps against my window. I sit, an afghan wrapped around me. Veiled sunlight struggles through the glass panes. My dryer hums in the background. Yet my heart is heavy. Sometimes the motives and heart of man weigh me down. It consumes and overwhelms. It robs and drains.
Toys lay strewn on my floor. Odds and ends sprawl over my dining room table. Even my bedroom is littered with laundry not yet folded. I should be surging forward with purpose and focus to rid my house of clutter. My mind should be a honed instrument with my feet marching to take the high ground. But here I sit. A weight presses against my heart. Feelings of paralysis threaten to overwhelm. I feel monsooned by the tidal waves of questions, doubts, and accusations. My mind struggles to make sense of it all, but I cannot. My spirit cries out to God.
In answer, a truth emerges as light through the inner storm. I cling to it. Be holy because I the Lord, Your God, am holy (Leviticus 11:44). Over and over this verse reverberates, encircling my mind like the tunneling winds of a tornado. Be holy, whispers the Holy Spirit, still and calm yet powerful in its presence. Concentrate not on yourself or what surrounds you but on me. Cast your mind upon My things rather than the whims of man. Be holy.
I sat, this verse permeating my soul and stilling my mind. Be holy. Its truth flowed over me in quiet illumination. In this physical world of which we live, we can easily be overtaken by distractions which threaten to rob us of joy and peace. Satan loves to steal our attention from the things of God and shift it elsewhere. He also loves to create conflict and controversy. Yet to be holy, we must renounce sin and depend not upon our own strength or understanding but God’s.
Each day this is a challenge. For me, drama and daily distractions are my greatest hindrances. These often steal my focus and suck me in. But time alone with Jesus is vital. Here, I can yield my ways, mind, thoughts, emotions, body, and motives to God. Here, God helps me cast off anger, hurt, or strife to put on love and forgiveness. Here, Christ takes off the old self and begins putting on the new. And as I fill myself with more Him and less of me, I begin dying to self and living increasingly more in Christ. It is here in the daily washing and cleansing of Jesus’s blood where I begin to understand.
The more we fill ourselves with the things of God and walk in His ways, the more we become conformed to His image thereby becoming more like Him —holy. This holiness can only be attained through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. His sinless, spotless life allowed Him to be the perfect sacrifice on our behalf. And His shed blood for us purifies and washes us clean. So, when doubts and uncertainties assail, Jesus can help us dwell not upon the angst but whatever is true, noble, pure, right, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). In the same way, when confronted by blatant disregard and deceit, the Holy Spirit consecrates us to be blameless and pure. Through the blood of Jesus and the anointing power of the Holy Spirit, we begin to be less consumed by the things of this world but more devoted to God…more holy.
Friends, cast off that which is weighing you down. Let not worldly distractions keep you from holy communion and peace with God. Look to Jesus. His shed blood makes the foulest clean. It cleanses us and gives us power to overcome. And although conforming myself to the image of Christ will not alter man’s evil heart or motives, it will surround me with a peace which passes all understanding. It gives firm footing on which to stand. It guards hearts, minds, and souls. It transforms us from the old to the new that we may be . . . holy.