…holy (Titus 1:8e)
You can still be holy, even if you are a sinner. I know this seems inconsistent, but let me explain.
In 2 Corinthians 4:7 the apostle Paul referred to early Christians as “clay vessels.” In every home people used everyday clay pottery for their family meals. The good tableware, if they had it, only came out for special occasions. Paul used this analogy to show that God uses ordinary people for extraordinary purposes so His strength will be seen in their weakness.
Therefore, clay vessels can be used for a holy purpose, but they are still made out of clay. They are likely cracked and chipped from use, but in God’s hands, they do a mighty work.
We all have flaws, whether we lead or follow. As we have seen in our study of Titus, some of these weaknesses might disqualify us from leadership, at least until we are able to adequately address or overcome them. However, even those with good leadership traits sin. So how holy is holy?
Biblical holiness is two-fold. We are made holy by the blood of Jesus and we become holy through a process of cleaning things out of our lives that don’t belong and putting things in them that do. Some people refer to these two kinds of holiness as “salvation” and “sanctification.”
A holy leader is someone who has given his life in full surrender to Jesus. He is someone who walks humbly in the grace that covers him, and is intentional about pleasing the One who saved him. Holy leaders care about how they live, because they know their example matters. And more than anything, they want to be like Jesus. Yet, they realize they are still sinners, and look to God for a constant flow of forgiveness.
Holy leaders also guard against false holiness, sometimes called “self-righteousness.” They refuse to trust in their own perfection, but hold tightly to the cross.
Don’t be surprised if you catch a leader sinning. But don’t be disillusioned either. Ask yourself these questions:
“Are they arrogant, or do they clearly sense their need for God’s grace?”
“When they recognize their sin, do they ask forgiveness of others and seek accountability?”
“Are they willing to use the lessons they have learned to help others?
Please don’t misunderstand. All sin is serious. But how one responds to personal sin will either make him a useful vessel for the Lord or an embarrassment to the kingdom.
I don’t have all of the answers to this subject, but I do know the holiest place to be is on our knees at the foot of the cross. It is hard to imagine what Jesus suffered and ever look at sin the same way again.
Dear God, help me on the path to holiness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.