There is also a Part 1 to this. Both blogs can stand alone, but they are more meaningful when read together. If you want to read the first one click here.
When we give our lives to God, we become His! Sometimes it takes a while for us to understand that, but it is true.
Knowing who we are to God is crucial to us moving forward. If we don’t know who we are, we will act like who we aren’t.
Now for one of my favorite parts! One of the most interesting and amazing truths that I have come across about our identity is in Numbers. (Yes, I really did say, “Numbers.”) I admit, perhaps Numbers can be one of the most boring books of the Bible to read (unless you really love details), but I found something AMAZING there! (with the help of a Jewish scholar- a lot of help. I link to the page later in this blog) Numbers 15:38 says, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel.” Now to be honest with you, I used to read these and think that God sounded mighty fussy. Kind of like, “Your skirt must come to your knee and if it’s a centimeter above, then I am mad at you.” (I went to a private school where they once measured skirts with a yardstick.) God’s heart was not just to give them a list of do’s and don’ts, but instead it was to show them who they were!
Here is what is really going on here. The Israelites had been slaves for 400 years. That’s a long time. I am guessing they had gotten pretty used to being slaves, thinking like slaves and living like slaves. They had been slaves for generations. At this point, all they knew was slavery. Do you know what it meant that God was wanting them to wear tassels? Royalty wore tassels!!! God was renaming them. He was saying, “You, My children, are no longer slaves! You are royalty. You are MINE! You are exactly opposite of who you have come to believe you are. I don’t want to just call you royalty, I want you to dress like it. I want everyone to know you are mine and that I see you as royalty.” The blue cord on the tassel? That signified priesthood. “You have high status with me, Israelites. You are set apart as Mine! You are No. Longer. Slaves. and I don’t want you to dress like it any longer. Those slave clothes aren’t fitting for you.” Isn’t that amazing? God was not being fussy or picky – He was renaming them. He was establishing their identity and how He saw them. If you want to read more on this, here is the link. It’s really worth the read and has way more depth than I am getting into here. When you know how God sees you, you will no longer act like a slave.
When you realize this, all of a sudden the verses, I Peter 1:16 and Leviticus 11:44 that both say, ‘Be Holy because I am holy,’ make so much more sense. Holiness is the outward expression of our new identity! Holiness is so often seen as restrictive just like the clothing that was required could have been seen as restrictive without the understanding of God’s heart. Maybe some of those Israelites felt more comfortable in their slave clothes because they had worn them for so long. The style was slave clothes after all. It’s all they had ever worn.
Sometimes we have worn sin, brokenness, and wrong ways of thinking for so long that they are more comfortable. If there is a struggle with sin or wrong thinking, could it be that we have forgotten who we are and Whose we are? God doesn’t just want us to wear holiness, but to be holy. Those are two very different things. I can wear a surgeon’s scrubs, but that doesn’t make me a surgeon. I would be found out to be a fraud before I made the very first cut. Wearing the scrubs doesn’t make me a surgeon, but if I am a surgeon, I will wear the scrubs. God wants us to wear holiness because it reflects who we really are. Sin is no longer a fitting garment for one that He calls His own. Holiness is the outward expression of the new heart He has given and the life He is restoring. He is the one who heals our hearts so that we are capable, free and able to walk holy.
Truthfully, if you look at it, how many of us would actually prefer to be bound by sin rather than be ‘confined’ by holiness? Holiness lived from the inside out, is life lived in wholeness. Take everything to the end of the road. Adultery may look enticing and even applauded in society, but it produces unimaginable heartbreak. Rebellion in children produces all kinds of anguish and regret. Unforgiveness is easy at the time and may even be satisfying, but it produces all kinds of heart and even physical issues. I could name all kinds of things here, but you get the idea. All brokenness, pain and ruined lives can be traced back to sin. I struggle to find one sin that does not lead to devastation in the end and yet we call holiness confining when really it is evidence of freedom. We definitely do have things backwards a lot. What is confining is holiness as outward conformity, calling ‘unholy’ what God never has and calling ‘holy’ what God never has. We get confused sometimes about what holiness is and what it isn’t. That is a whole other blog in itself, but Colossians 3:12 defines it pretty well. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Holiness and wholeness go hand in hand. When we walk in holiness, we don’t continue walking out of brokenness and sin anymore. As God heals and restores us, we are freed to walk more holy and as we walk more holy, He heals and frees us of more things. It’s a process that we learn and walk out. Giving our lives to Him is just the starting point. You can’t have true holiness from the heart without wholeness and you can’t be whole without holiness. This is why holiness as an outward conformity doesn’t work and we hear of so many falling. True holiness is a sign of our new identity, a heart made new, a heart being restored and a heart being made whole. It is God renaming us. This is why Ephesians 5:1 says, “Follow God’s example, as dearly loved children.” This verse kind of sounds like, “Be holy as I am holy.” By His grace, we get to be holy BECAUSE we are dearly loved children. Matthew 7:20 says, “You will know them by their fruit.” You will know Whose they are by what they’re ‘wearing.’ The fruit is the result of being His. This verse is worth repeating. Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. As we become more whole and see things from a true perspective, slave clothes look less and less appealing. Holiness is fitting for us because of Whose we are.
It’s through His death and resurrection that we are enabled to walk holy and whole. Without this new life, we are completely incapable of it. True holiness is the result of God’s renewing work in us. It is evidence of a heart restored. We must choose to walk in our new identity though. This is why it says in Romans 6:12 Do not let sin control the way you live. Do not give into sinful desires. Walking in holiness, identifies us as dearly loved children who God is restoring, but we can choose to wear sin. We have to choose what we wear. This is why faith and works goes together in James. Holiness is the outward expression that we are HIS and are being made whole. We don’t live holy to BE loved by God, we live holy BECAUSE we are loved by God.
I Peter 1:16 “…You must be holy because I am holy.”
You are No. Longer. Slaves. Sin does not run you or ruin you any longer. You are marked by me. Choose to walk like you are mine. Wear holiness – your royal, priestly garments. Don’t wear sin – your slave clothes. I made you for more than that.
Isaiah 43:1 “…Fear not, I have redeemed you. I have called you BY NAME, you are MINE.”
He knows our name. It’s not a mystery to Him Who we are. We may not know who we are, but HE does and He can show us the truth of who we are and who He created us to be. There is not a boundary He can’t overcome or a life that He can’t restore. Lord, Help us to know our name. Help us to pick the right clothes. Where we keep picking slave clothes or sin, show us the places we need Your truth revealed and Your hand of healing on our heart. Help us to put on holiness and take off sin.