The Beauty of Holiness :: Guest Article with Kelli McCool

March 22, 2019

“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2).

Holiness: the word that makes some cringe and others immediately feel at peace.

I remember a time in my life when I would have secretly fallen in the first category. Personally, I believe your response is a direct reflection of how you have chosen to define it, the examples you have seen represent it, and the lifestyle you are choosing to live.

If you are one of those who cringe at the word, give me a minute to explain a side of it you may not have considered before you decide to shut me out:

Scripture says in Hebrews 12:14-17: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see The Lord.”

Another version I love, the ESV, says, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” It continues to say, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.”

A few interesting things I want to pull from these verses:

  1. Without holiness we will not make it to heaven. No matter the version of the Bible you are reading from, that is made pretty clear. So before we go any farther, let’s agree on this: we must be holy. We must be holy to fulfill God’s calling; we must be holy to be a witness, and we must be holy to make it to heaven. As I’m sure each one reading would agree, making it to heaven and spending forever with our Creator is the goal.
  2. Directly paired with being holy and making it to heaven, is making every effort to live in peace with everyone. That’s an internal deliberate decision that Jesus must’ve thought was pretty important. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” We are called to be peacemakers and peace speakers in our quest to be holy. You can’t have one without the other.
  3. Notice this with me: Esau was willing to sell his birthright to appease, or satisfy, his flesh. This verse calls him godless because of it. So much of our struggle with holiness and even purity, as the Scripture referenced, I’m convinced, is directly correlated with our weakness in dealing with our flesh. Simply stated, if we aren’t careful, our “right now” desires can drastically impact our long-term focus and goals, which then ultimately can affect our final destination.

I was given the privilege of speaking to an audience of hundreds of girls ages 8-21 at our National Princess Within Conference this month, and I was thrilled with the theme “The Beauty of Holiness.”

I decided to paint a picture for the girls by bringing out my very own “Beast” and “Belle,” and reminded the girls what made the Beast this horrible creature in the first place. The story Beauty and the Beast starts out with a handsome, arrogant prince who is turned into a monstrous beast after rejecting an enchantress, disguised as a poor beggar, who offers him a rose for a warm night’s sleep.

Later, the story shows that a young girl named Belle does eventually fall in love with him, which, consequently, breaks the spell. She falls in love with him not because of his handsome face — far from it. Remember, he is still covered in fur at this point. She falls in love with him because kindness and internal beauty have become a part of who he is.

In the beginning, the prince looked the part, but he was missing the mark entirely on the INSIDE.

Think about this:
Have you ever met someone like that? Someone who looked the part on the outside, the walking definition of “external holiness,” but seemed to just be completely missing the mark on the inside? Holiness, or beauty, on just the outside simply just doesn’t cut it.

The true beauty of holiness is the direct contrast to the ugliness of sin — externally and internally.

I am determined to empower this movement full of Holy-Ghost filled girls and women to long for the beauty of internal holiness, which then will absolutely, inevitably, flow to the outside.

May our movement, our churches, our youth groups, may YOU and I, never be known for perfectly looking the part but completely missing the mark internally. We can do better than that. Jesus WANTS to empower us to have both.

Holiness is beautiful. Purity is lovely. We cannot let the world and worldly influences devalue and cheapen us. We are worth more. As daughters of our heavenly Father, when we as believers are born again of water and Spirit, we become blessed with a divine heritage of holiness and beauty.

The following is a point my pastor beautifully pointed out several weeks ago during midweek Bible Study:

1 Chronicles 16:29 states, “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Scripture is clear to say worship THE LORD. Clearly, not to worship beauty or even holiness! If we are holy, we will absolutely have a holy appearance; however, we do not make our outward appearance an idol or our god. Outward holiness should never be our final goal or destination.

My goal and my aspiration is to be more LIKE HIM, to point more TO HIM, and to spend eternity WITH HIM!

So, how can we be more like Him? How do we pinpoint or describe a God so wonderful, so majestic, and so indescribable? If we want to really have internal beauty and holiness as Jesus desires for us to, we must work to emulate the following character traits:

  1. Humility: Our Jesus is the epitome of humility. The definition of humility means to be free from pride or arrogance. Our pastor preached a message not too long ago that really stuck out to me: “Giving God My Glory.” It’s easy to give God the glory He’s due, but what about the glory I’m due? The credit I feel I deserve? The pat on the back I so desperately want? Living a holy life begins with denying our flesh and our fleshly desires of the need for praise. Be humble; serve Jesus and others quietly: you may not get all the credit you feel you deserve, but it’s a beautiful thing sleeping peacefully at night knowing you’ve lived a life that will receive the ultimate credit once you’ve reached heaven’s gates.
  2. Peacefulness: Jesus is a peace-speaker and a peacemaker. If you want to be holy like Him, this must be your daily aim. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Be a peacekeeper. Make EVERY effort, no excuses.
  3. Faithfulness: Our Jesus is so faithful. For so many, faithfulness, or our determination to be faithful, hinges on what we feel is important and worth our commitment. Scripture says in 2 Tim. 2:13: “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny himself.” Another version says it this way: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful.” Wow. Is there a verse more beautiful than this? More convicting than this? If you want to be holy like Him, you must pattern yourself after this. Which may mean when others are faithless towards YOU, you remain faithful. Remain consistent.
  4. Joy: If our aim is to be holy like our Savior, we must represent Him accordingly. The joy of the Lord should be our continued source of strength, and we must represent Him in happy and in difficult seasons to the world. Philippians 4:4 says: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice!” Being joyful has 100% everything to do with being holy.
  5. Loving: “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Love is patient. Are we patient? Love is kind. Are we kind? Love does not envy or boast. Love is not arrogant or rude. . . . Goodness, I don’t always line up! Love is not irritable or resentful. It does not insist on its own way. Guilty. Remember, God is love, so this is Who we are truly lining ourselves up to. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. Ask yourself, as I have done, how well do you line up with that?

Holiness is becoming like Who we worship, and in return, Holiness is beautiful, because He is beautiful.

“Yea, He is Altogether Lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:16).

Let’s vow to make this small daily sacrifice, internally and externally, for the God who sacrificed everything for us.

Let’s choose to use our external holiness not as something to complain about, and certainly not as something to boast about, but as a daily reminder that Jesus changed our life and as a sweet reminder to praise God that we are not what we used to be.

When we learn to worship the One who made us instead of worshipping holiness itself, we realize we don’t live a holy, separate lifestyle to “get saved.” It’s opposite of that: we live a holy lifestyle because we are saved. Because of the One who saved us.

And friend, you are beautiful. Holiness is beautiful.

Kelli McCool serves alongside her husband, Anthony, as student pastor at FAC Knoxville. She is a registered nurse and is also blessed to teach at Apostolic Christian School. She prays her writings of personal lessons and thoughts will unify and encourage other Apostolic ladies.

•Find more of her writings at kellimccool.org
•Connect with her at @kelli.danielle