The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
When I was in High School, believe it or not, I was a basketball player. I played for a small, class A size, school in Southeastern Oklahoma named Smithville. We were the Smithville Braves. Our team colors were red and white. In those days, most basketball was played in All-Star Converse canvas shoes. When we were getting ready for my sophomore season, some of the players came up with the idea that we all buy some snazzy new-fangled shoes from a company I had never heard of called Adidas. This was around 1972. These shoes were rich red suede with white trim and laces. I think I paid around $45 for them and I had never paid that much for a pair of “tennis” now called “athletic” shoes in my life. Most of my canvas shoes had been $5 to $15. It had always been a rule that basketball shoes were to be worn only in the gymnasium for the protection of the floor. That way we didn’t pick up rocks or debris that would scratch the surface.
Well, these shoes were very special. I only wore them for basketball because I not only wanted to protect the gym floor, but also wanted to protect the shoes from damage.
These shoes were holy shoes. No, not holy because of some religious idea or because they were for wearing to church. No, they were holy because they were set apart only for playing basketball. As the season went on, I began to notice that a few of the guys shoes began to look faded and dirty. I didn’t know why that would be, but I wondered how it had happened until one day, some of us were playing baseball just for the fun of it and I noticed a couple of the teammates were wearing those holy basketball shoes to play outdoors. I was stunned! How could they mistreat these special, expensive shoes and allow them to look like regular play shoes? But they did. By the end of the season, most of the team’s shoes were ragged and faded because these holy shoes had been treated as just plain every-day shoes. Because of this, our team had to buy new shoes the next year.
God wants you and me to be holy followers of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13-16 says:
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But, just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
To be holy, means to be set apart for a special purpose. My basketball shoes where holy because I had declared them to be set apart for basketball. They were holy unto me and unto basketball. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, you and I have been set apart, or made “holy” by God to be dedicated to him. We are holy unto God and to his service. When we allow ourselves to be misused to a service outside of God’s purpose, we become worn, faded, tattered and even dirty. Just as some of our team’s basketball shoes became unusable for basketball, we can become useless to serve in the Kingdom of God.
It is vital that we take the Lord’s command through Peter, “Be holy, because I am holy.” Holiness is a state of being. Living separate from the world and in and through the commands and example of Jesus is crucial to the follower of Christ. Being holy is vital to being useful to him.
I hope you will see that being holy is nothing about being religious. It is about being in Christ and him being in us. It is about making him our example and guide. It is about becoming more and more like Jesus.
He has made you special so live like it.
This Sunday we will pick up where we left off from our Easter message. This series will be called “Living Hope” and the message for Sunday will be “What’s the Difference?” based on 1 Peter 1:13-2:3. I hope you will join us on FaceBook Live on the First Christian Church FaceBook page at 10:30AM.
Set apart for God with you,