A HOLY MAN OF GOD
- Zac Poonen
"And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually" (2 Kings 4:8, 9). The woman who made this observation was "a rich and influential woman" (Amplified Bible). She was no gullible person, easily taken in by appearances. Elisha had visited her home frequently and she had watched him day after day as the heathen watch us. She finally came to the assured conclusion that Elisha was a holy man of God. Brothers and sisters, when others watch us, if they are not able to come to this same conclusion, then whatever else we may say or do will be of no avail. I am not referring to the impression we make on people who know little about us, but on those who meet us frequently, those with whom we live, those who know us through and through. What is the impression we make upon others? Do they consider us as merely smart and witty and eloquent or perhaps as having dynamic personalities? These qualities are essential and excellent when found in salesmen, but we are not called to be salesmen. We are called to be primarily holy men and women of God. In our churches and Christian organisations, we have many preachers and soloists, and theologians and administrators. Thank God for every one of them. But do we have holy men of God? This is the important question. Only when we get holy men and women will we have any real revival. I think it is true to say that we usually end up becoming the type of people we have really longed to be, in our hearts. If we had really yearned to be holy men and women of God-and remember, God sees the deepest longing in our hearts and answers that-we would assuredly have been such. And so if we are not holy today, perhaps the reason is that our real ambitions have been otherwise. Maybe we are satisfied with being just smart and dynamic and with having administrative acumen. It is easy to say we desire holiness above everything else, because that is the right thing to say. But like God's people in the days of Isaiah and Ezekiel, the deepest desire of our hearts and the profession of our lips may be poles apart (Isa. 29:13; Eze. 33:31). We may preach one blessing or we may preach two. But no theory of sanctification and no testimony of past experiences can ever be a substitute for a genuinely holy life-a life that possesses "the holiness which is no illusion" (Eph. 4:24- J.B. Phillips). We know that some of our non-Christian friends have a very high moral standard. If they see a lower standard of holiness in us than what their religion teaches them, how are they ever going to be drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ. How sad yet true it is that some devout non-Christians, in spite of all their errors and mistaken ideas, often manifest a greater degree of integrity and uprightness than many Christians do. We should be ashamed of this fact and fall on our faces before God and beg for His mercy. We need genuinely holy men and women in our churches, and especially among our Christian leaders. Apart from them, all our efforts to reach others for Christ will be in vain. We Christians profess to be indwelt by the Spirit of God. But let us not forget that He Who indwells us is called the Holy Spirit and that His primary function is not to give us gifts but to make us holy. When Isaiah saw a vision of God, he heard the seraphim around the throne crying out, not "Almighty, Almighty, Almighty," nor "Merciful, Merciful, Merciful," but "Holy, Holy, Holy." Anyone who has seen such a sight will realise that it is no light thing to be a servant of such a God. Holiness is an imperative necessity in the life of one who is called to represent the High and Lofty One Whose Name is Holy. The fact that our God is an infinitely holy God should be the greatest incentive for holiness in our lives. "Be ye holy, for I am Holy," says the Lord. If we strive for holiness merely because we want God to use us, our motive is selfish. We should desire to be holy because our God is Holy, quite regardless of whether He uses us or not. As Elisha moved around, this was the impression he made upon all with whom he came into contact-that he was a holy man of God. People might have forgotten his messages and even the three points of his sermons, but they could not forget the impact of his life. What a challenge this should be to us! How we should covet that, more than being just eloquent in our sermons, wonderful in our exposition of the Scriptures and able in our administration of affairs, we might above all be holy men of God. People cannot easily erase from their memories the impression made upon them by such men.