HUMILITY, SIMPLICITY, & HOLINESS - by Gwendolyn D Hanssen
HUMILITY, SIMPLICITY AND HOLINESS – by Gwendolyn D Hanssen
The above three words: humility, simplicity and holiness go hand in hand, or rather they should go hand in hand. However, the sad reality is that there has been a standard of “holiness” that has been created in the church world without any thought being given to humility and simplicity. These two attributes, humility and simplicity, are what give this doctrine of consecration and holiness unto God the power that propels the Christian believer onward and upward in his/her spiritual journey. The doctrine of “holiness” practiced without a true humility will not produce simplicity, but will instead produce what the Bible calls “a form of godliness” without power. (II Timothy 3:5) This is not true holiness, but rather what I call a “holiness fashion”. It has no power, no life, no fire, no light, as it does not draw the attention to God, but rather draws attention to “self”.
There are those in this day and age who are attempting to practice the doctrine of “outward holiness” without a giving of themselves in humility. The word humility in the Greek is tap-i-no’-o which means: abase, to bring low, to humble (self). If we sincerely desire to be consecrated unto God, be set apart and be “holiness unto the Lord”, then we need to further explore the word “humility” because without it the soul is only being lifted up due to a personal sense of accomplishment. In doing this, humanity can easily become puffed up in thinking, “I am able to follow this list and check off all of the boxes in order to fit into the form of holiness.” If this list of do’s and don’ts is being followed without the soul being engaged in humble submission before the One whom it is all about, then the heart will be lifted up in pride, arrogance and haughtiness. These very ones who I am referring to are the very Christians who proclaim to be on a journey that is sacred and leads to the heights and depths in God. These are the very ones who are attempting to lay aside every weight and press onward towards Zion, and yet the display of pride in their attempt at outward holiness is grievous. The Word speaks specifically about the “Daughters of Zion” who walk with their outstretched necks, their well-set hair, their ornaments, and their changeable suits of apparel in Isaiah 3:16-26. I will not belabor that. But please, go and read for yourself the stench that this display of vanity is in the nostrils of God.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in Christian standards. I believe that we are to embrace, practice and live-out the standards that have been mapped out in the Word and are to be a part of the Christian walk. We are in no way, shape or form to follow the culture of this world. This is contrary to the Word of God, yet this “follow the culture gospel” is being proclaimed loudly in many pulpits. The ‘great cloud of witnesses’ have paid a great price for showing us the way of Truth. (Hebrews 12:1) However, without the same kind of birth in the heart as those who have walked the journey before us, we are in danger of making a mockery of the sacred paths, the sacred things of God, or the “old paths”. (Jeremiah 6:16)
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which have been taught, whether by word, or by epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
This new generation of “holiness” Christians are often strutting around in a “fashion”. Standards are seemingly adhered to, i.e.: long uncut hair, skirts, no make-up, no jewelry. As I have said in a previous article these are not traditions of men, nor is any of this required for salvation (salvation is a free gift), but they are indeed principles of Truth that are expedient, to be loved, embraced and practiced as a striving Christian who desires to be separate from the world. (2 Corinthians 6:17) However, these very things that are so incredibly beautiful when done with a pure heart will become a stench and religiously filthy if not practiced in submission, obedience and humility. To add, all of these things are clearly mapped out in the Word of God, and yes, even in the New Testament. Always remember, that there is the milk of the Word and there is the meat of the Word. In other words, there are layers. He will reveal to you as far as you have pressed in and desired. (I Corinthians 3:1-2) Do not despise that which you do not understand.
Back to the matter at hand, I have seen two sides to this being lived out. If the heart is not engaged in a true humility, then the believer can display a very unkempt and dirty type of appearance, OR on the flip-side and to the opposite extreme will be one who attempts to tick the boxes of “holiness”, and yet at the same time be fashionable.
These two words, fashion and holiness, do not even belong in the same sentence, much less in the same vicinity or displayed on a believer’s body. This is like attempting to combine two seeds of a different kind. This is called a hybrid or a mixture. The Word speaks expressly against the combining of that which is holy to that which is unholy. Fashion is not in any way, shape or form birthed from purity, nor does the Word of God have anything nice to say about following the patterns and fashions of this world, quite the contrary.
I am saying all of this to say that we are in danger of losing the holiness, sanctity and purity of something that is so beautiful, life-giving, life-changing and peace-giving, if a right thing is being done in the wrong way. Choose you this day whom you will serve. (Joshua 25:15) Are you dressing with the motive of being pleasing to your Bridegroom and drawing the eyes of the One who it’s all about or are you dressing with the motive of drawing the attention and acceptance of others and pleasing ‘self’?
Dress yourself in simplicity, modesty, cleanliness and obedience to the Word, never self-serving, but always God-serving. If you dress with Him in mind, the One who came down and made himself of no reputation, the One whose footsteps we are to be following, then you will not be self-promoting. You will be self-abasing just as He was. He came down and made himself of no reputation and took on the form of a servant. If you want to walk in true holiness unto the Lord, then pattern yourself after Him. He walked in humility without a desire to ever be noticed.
“And whosever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)
~Gwendolyn D Hanssen