When you hear the word holiness, whether inside or outside of church, the vibe you feel, hear, or imagine is one of seriousness and prohibition. “You can’t do this”, “You can’t do that”, “Y’all better get right!” and so on. I do agree that holiness is VERY serious, and in this day and age, it’s definitely ignored and played with.
However, with this being the main connotation to it, it tends to hinder people from seeing its true nature in a complete and comprehensive way. I can see why it affects how we see it because even though the Bible mentions the beauty of holiness, beauty is the LAST thing that comes to mind when people think of it. Anyone that’s apart of a charismatic holiness denomination(ex: Pentecostal, COGIC, Apostolic) has experienced in some of these churches the rules that can often come into play. You hear things like; no make-up, jewelry, long skirts, etc. for women. Or men hear things about their hair, jewelry, jeans, etc. So, holiness ends up being associated with what you can’t show and can’t do in some circles.
The question then comes, if beauty is associated with holiness, what is beauty? Here’s the meaning of beauty in a number of verses in the Hebrew language:
As we can see, beauty is mainly something or someone that is pleasant. That includes pleasing physically, but ultimately pleasing in its complete essence. This is why when you see someone who’s physically attractive, you may say, “Wow, he/she’s beautiful!”…then he/she starts talking and THEN you reconsider your assessment haha! That example shows that beauty is more than skin deep, and it starts from the nature of someone rather than what you see outwardly.
This is significant, because it should change how we judge someone as being beautiful. It also is significant, because it changes WHERE and WHO we see beauty originating from. Since God is our Creator and the One who’s image we are made in, there’s no other place you can look to find the essence of beauty.
God is completely pleasant, kind, and just a joy to be around and experience(Psalms 27:4, Psalms 90:17)! We also see His beauty in creation, EVEN with sin ravaging creation, beauty just can’t help but burst through because Jesus made it exceedingly wonderful. It evokes awe and we long to be around it, causing us to feel at peace and experience how pleasant it is. Having said all of that, there’s a different word in the Hebrew used to specifically describe the beauty of holiness that God is, check it out:
Some of the verses that speak of this are again in Psalms and even Chronicles (1 Chronicles 16:9, Psalms 29:2, 96:9). This may be shocking to read for some of you, but when you see this, it should really cause you to look at holiness with a larger vision. When you’re truly walking in holiness, the more you seek to be like the LORD, the more pleasant your life will begin to look.
Unfortunately for many in church or those who no longer go, the more they hear about holiness, the uglier and more unpleasant it looks to them. Then the saddest thing happens; as sin begins to look more attractive and pleasing to them, when sin is actually ugly at its CORE, and those who live in it become more of what it really is rather than what it seems.
The pleasantry and delight that beauty brings doesn’t take away from the seriousness of holiness..it actually enhances it. When you deal with something or someone that you see as beautiful, it’s a direct correlation to how SERIOUS you take what you behold before you. Have you ever seen a china set for example? Try handling that carelessly and watch how people around you react. It’s the same with people. Once you say someone is beautiful, you have automatically placed yourself in the position to treat them responsibly and are accountable for it. We see that the beauty of holiness consists of adornment and glory. It carries with it a weight and a seriousness…yet beauty at its core carries a pleasant nature with it. So, when it comes to God, we approach Him with reverence and awe, yet we remain among Him because He is so pleasant and wonderful to be around.
To my fellow Christians, when people are around you, how do they feel? Are you a pleasant fragrance, or an odor? Do people feel welcomed because of your kindness and graciousness, or do they feel pushed away. Holiness should produce an attraction to the One you’re walking in holiness for, and at the same time, a seriousness to it. The flesh hates the will of God, so we’ll obviously see the hatred against it, but let it be because they don’t want God instead of it being because they can’t stand to be around you.
Holiness isn’t about looking stoic or covering every area of skin that shows, and while there may be differences of opinion on modesty, at its core it should be beautiful. If you choose to wear a long skirt without jewelry or makeup, it’s not prudish, it’s a choice and you’re beautiful. If you wear jeans, make-up, and jewelry, it’s also a choice and doesn’t make you superior. The point is that the beauty of holiness is pleasant, joyful, kind, and makes people want to be around because you create that kind of environment. It’ll only be created if you yourself intentionally look upon the beauty of the LORD in the beauty of His holiness. You were created by He who is beautiful, may you live as you were created to be..it’s a beautiful thing.