Recently I was trying to be mindful of a situation around my youngest daughter. I was trying to prevent her from being exposed to inappropriate things and shield her from inappropriate language.
Then, in the midst of it, Jesus said, “Do for yourself, what you do for her.”
And with those words it was like He threw open all of the windows in my soul and opened me to new light and new understanding.
As Christians, we are called to become holy, right? We all know that. The goal is to grow in the image and likeness of God.
But holiness isn’t so much about how much we pray or which church we go to. Those are the means to an end. They are not the end itself.
No, friend, holiness is a state of purity.
Purity is a state of being clean, wholesome, untainted in mind, body, and soul. Put simply it’s like being a little child.
Sure, kids act out and throw tantrums but it’s mostly because their self control skills aren’t developed yet — it’s not because their heart isn’t developed. A child’s heart is more like Jesus’ than an adults usually. They’re more loving, accepting, trusting.
And so when we adults try to shield them from obscenities and the like, what we’re doing is trying to protect their purity and innocence. We don’t want to taint them. We recognize that there is an incompatibility between their purity and the world’s indecency. And so we try to keep them separated from it for as long as possible.
Now, back to what the Lord told me. “Do for yourself, what you do for her.”
Why don’t we adults try to protect ourselves from the conversations, shows, music, movies, websites that we protect our children from? Because we’re older? What does age have to do with it? There is only one measurement of holiness. It is Jesus Christ. And it doesn’t change with age or time. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
So if we truly want to be holy — if we truly want to become like Jesus — we have to do like He said: become like children. We have to “Do for ourselves, what we do for them.”
We have to recognize that there is an incompatibility between holiness and the world, between darkness and light. And if we are earnestly pursuing holiness then we have to be mindful of what we allow in our lives through our eyes, ears, mouths, hearts, and bodies.
Treat yourself like a child. Ask yourself if this movie or conversation is appropriate for a 5 year old. Ask yourself if it’s appropriate for Church. For Jesus.
Because here’s the other thing: there’s no duplicity in holiness either. Holiness is a unity of person such that there’s not two people — the Sunday Christian and the everyday sinner — but rather one person. The follower of Jesus. Everyday. All the time.
We become holy when we reconcile duplicity and become one person, living one life. When we begin to have one way of conversing and entertaining. When we truly do become like little children.
We have a tendency to act like God doesn’t see us 24/7. He doesn’t see that text, that video, that meme, that website. But He does.
Scripture makes this clear.
“[God] is found by those who test him not, and he manifests himself to those who do not disbelieve him. For perverse counsels separate a man from God…”
“God is the witness of [man’s] inmost self and the sure observer of his heart and the listener to his tongue.”
“…the sound of grumbling does not go unheard. Beware then of useless grumbling, and keep your tongue from slander; because no secret word is without result, and a lying mouth destroys the soul.” (Wisdom 1: 2-3, 6, 10-11)
So the challenge for today is this: to look at ourselves as we truly are — children of God. And to protect God’s children from those things that would taint their souls.