Monday, August 8, 2005

Grumpy Holiness

During a "chat on the front steps" conversation yesterday, a good friend of mine (and former next-door neighbour) made the following comment:
"They (the church he had visited in the States recently) are very serious about holiness, but it's a happy holiness, not a grumpy one."
I had to laugh, because I knew exactly what he was referring to. Some people who live exemplary lives of holiness, purity, and zeal for Jesus are so refreshing to be around. They exude life -- the life of Jesus.

Others are technically living a life separated from the world, but they are rigid, judgmental, and seem to have the "gift of condemnation". They can suck the life right out of you, and often they're quite bitter about how others don't live up to their standards.

It's not unlike how some people approach prophetic ministry. People's personal "schtuff" gets in the way of a simple message that God may be speaking through them. Something as simple as "God loves you" can come out in radically different ways, depending if the person has happy holiness or grumpy holiness.
"God wants to remind you how much He loves you. The Father wants you to know that you are precious to Him."
"Have you not heard? Have I not said? Thus saith the Lord, how many times must you hear that you are loved before you believe it? Jesus died on the Cross, isn't that enough?"
Same message: God loves you. Different flavours, depending on how the word is delivered. One brings life, the other condemnation.
My neighbour's comment reminds me of one of my favourite "Ministry 101" Bible verses, Proverbs 18:21:
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
I know which kind of people I prefer to hang out with! And it's my prayer that I am also someone who is growing in a happy holiness.