In the world there are people, institutions, and certain things that God has set apart as “holy.” When something is ordained as “holy,” it must be treated with a fearful respect.
Why do I say a “fearful respect”? Because, according to the Bible, a lack of respect for things that are holy brings consequences. There is an inherent power in the things that God considers to be “holy” in the earth. That inherent power can release upon us a state of happiness, healing, provision, peace, and other forms of blessing; or it can invoke a state of difficulty, and THAT should be feared.
This blessing occurs when we cultivate an attitude of the heart that responds with a fearful respect. “Fearful,” because we realize that God has both grace and judgment to give away; and “respect,” because we realize that God is worthy of our love and devotion. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you show a proper respect for holy people, places, and things you will draw a blessing upon your life.
When consequences are delayed, it is easy to slip into a false sense of safety, and to believe that there are no consequences. But God is patient like a good parent. He doesn’t immediately correct everything we do wrong or else we would be overwhelmed. He allows us to live our lives according to the gift He gave us called “free will.”
I have, however, seen consequences come to people within as short a time as 24-48 hours after they showed a lack of respect for holy men and women, for God’s holy name, or some of the other holy things I will discuss in a minute. Sadly, they didn’t make the connection that those consequences related back 24-48 hours to the disrespect they had shown.
One example is found in the Old Testament. There was a prophet, a “holy man” named Elisha. He was traveling along minding his own business when a group of people showed disrespect to him by calling him names, criticizing him, and then laughing about their insults. They suffered immediate consequences when a bear just happened to come out of the woods and kill them. This is one example of the kind of disrespect to which I’m referring (and we have seen some bears roaming around the area, so watch out). 🙂
Another example concerns Holy Communion. Now this is very strong language, but I Corinthians 11: 27-30 says: “Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty…but let a man examine himself, and then let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.”
If we analyze these verses, we can agree that these people were not becoming weak, sick, dying young, or bringing “damnation” upon themselves simply by drinking the fruit of the vine. No, there is an inherent power on the act of receiving Holy Communion which activates a blessing or a curse. We must search our heart to see that it is in a posture of fearful reverence toward Holy Communion. This is the examination we are to do related to ALL things that God has ordained as “Holy.”
Now, I can hear some of you readers misinterpret what I’m saying and accuse me of thinking that all bad things in the world are a result of showing disrespect for the holy. I didn’t say that. But some of it is.
So you might ask, why would God activate this hidden potential for blessing or cursing in the Earth today when anyone could be hurt through ignorance of what is holy?
We have a responsibility not to be ignorant. 2 Timothy 2:15 says “Study to shew thyself approved unto God.…rightly dividing the word of truth.” We have a responsibility to be knowledgeable about what God expects of us. We are to use that knowledge to grow in holiness ourselves, understanding that He IS seeing the posture of our hearts toward everything.
Interestingly, when the apostle wrote those words, no one owned a Bible. So how did they do this “studying” God directed to be done? They attended church for the preaching of the Bible, they met in small study groups, they asked the church leaders questions, and passed around the apostles’ letters. You should do the same. You should prayerfully read your Bible in the presence of the Holy Spirit. You should faithfully attend church. You should make time to be involved in a small study group. You should read things like this article so that you learn how to walk in a fearful reverence toward the things that are “holy.”
So, let’s look at some of the things that are holy that must be treated respectfully.
Holy Name. God has stated that His name is HOLY. This is why we are not to use the word “God” or “Lord” or “Jesus” in any way whatsoever except as speaking reverently about Him or to Him. There is far too much of this is our culture today, even from the pulpit! Using OMG to mean “Oh my God” is an example of using His name without fearful respect. God recently spoke to my heart that I am no longer to watch anything on TV or DVD or at the movies that uses His name with disrespect. His Name is not slang, nor is it a joke!
Holy Matrimony. Unfortunately, some of our young people today don’t even know the institution of marriage by this name. But long ago, marriage was named holy because the Bible speaks very sternly about respecting marriage. If a married man is always looking around at other women—or worse—he is being unfaithful and disrespectful to the wife with whom he entered this HOLY covenant. Disrespect for marriage is one of the reasons for so much divorce, infidelity, strife, and separateness. In the proper attitude of heart, two people can experience a miracle transformation so that the two of them literally merge into one very happy couple.
Holy Man. This term used to be used about ministers. “He is a holy man,” people would say. There are men and women of God who are HOLY. I have personally seen people bring destructive circumstances upon themselves because of disrespect toward people that are HOLY.
So how can you tell which men and women are holy and demand this special respect? You can’t tell unless you know them well enough to recognize a level of holiness on them. I believe there are even modern day prophets who carry that inherent power of holiness I talked about earlier. Because you may not be able to recognize who these people are it is dangerous to treat people as common. The safest bet is to treat everyone with respect.
Holy Temple. Some churches are places ordained by God as HOLY. When we enter a church we should not treat it as common as if we were going to a social event or ballgame. NO! We should posture our hearts as we enter the door with an attitude of fearful reverence, for it is called “God’s house.”
Holy Sabbath. Respect for the Sabbath day should be a celebration. We should celebrate a HOLY day of every week in which we do not work. If you can’t celebrate Sunday as your Sabbath, you could choose another day. Make the Sabbath day easy on yourself. Prepare meals ahead of time, go to church, then rest or do something fun with your family—but don’t work. This is the expression of respect required for the Sabbath.
Holy Bible. Do you think God watches how you treat the Bible? Do you sometimes pick it up and lay it aside as if it were nothing more than the phone book? We are to handle our Bibles with a moment of respect when we pick them up or lay them down.
Holy Communion. Earlier in this article, I used communion as an example of a Christian sacrament that demands a posture of fearful respect in your heart. There are other Christian traditions as well. You saw what the scripture says the consequences can be concerning communion—sickness, weakness, and early death.
Here’s the GOOD NEWS:
The Old Testament is filled with stories that reveal the nature of God’s personality. He is amazingly loving and patient. He is willing to accept anyone in any state of life. But then He expects a progressive transformation in that life so that holiness and respect for things that are holy are established in the heart.
Acts 17:30 says: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent.”
Whatever your past relationship with God has been, it can be different beginning today. God loves you and has an amazing plan for YOUR life. Yes, You! You see, sin clogs the pipes between us and God and hinders the blessedness God wants to give us.
Jesus paid a ransom to give you a changed life, and that ransom can make you clean in God’s eyes, and open up a completely new experience for you with God. According to this scripture God has “winked at” or chosen to ignore your previous ignorance. But now you are no longer ignorant. You’ve read this article and can now begin, with God’s help, to posture your heart with an appropriate fearful respect toward those things that God has ordained as HOLY.
One paradigm shift will lead you away from trouble and into a safer, more blessed place of relationship with God.
Myra Mansfield is a law enforcement chaplain with the Anderson County Sheriffs Department and serves as a volunteer for several community organizations.