“Is the container big enough?” They all stood around wondering if the tank would hold all the liquid about to be poured into it. They decided they would try their best to expand the tank to accommodate the total amount. So in their own effort, they stretched and built what they hoped would be a large enough container to hold it all…

And so it goes with our efforts to answer the call to be holy. Our human nature tends to engage in self-generated efforts to prepare our life for God to pour in holiness. Am I spiritual enough? Can I hold it all? How can I expand my life to contain it all? Do you notice a common theme…I? The assumption is that we must do something to prepare the “container” before God will pour in that added ingredient – holiness.

It’s a thinking pattern that represents a closed economic system. There’s a commodity that I need – holiness, and my container – life, needs to be expanded, shaped, and prepared to receive it to the measure of my ability to hold it.

In reality, God’s holiness, which is part and parcel of His very nature, is simply the influencing effect of His intimate presence in our life and journey. It is an open, dynamic, and permeable system. Christ in us forms, transforms, expands our lives – not before we may receive God’s presence but as a result of it. Transformation does not precede presence, rather it is the result of presence.

Holiness – not an accessory to the Christian life; not something we determine by making our lives big enough to hold it all. Holiness – God in us expanding and forming us as His holy character is appropriated daily within us and through the permeable walls of our life in engaging those around us.

Kevin W. Mannoia