Hope for A Hot Mess

Phyllis Nissila

flamesWe live in a hot mess.

We ARE a hot mess.

This is readily apparent when one reads the news, looks around, looks in the mirror…

But it really hit home recently when I began re-examining the “holiness” concept.

As we anticipate and prepare for the soon return of Jesus Christ on the prophetic front (as many believe imminent) there seems a plethora of friendly reminders to tend to “spiritual housekeeping;” however, some voices seem more like friendly fire.

Today, I am reminded that holiness, i.e., “The quality of being holy or sacred: blessedness, sacredness, sacrosanctity, sanctity” [1] is both “a completed and a progressive work” [2].

I am reminded to be careful lest I spend too much time “holiness gazing,” as it were, which is a lot like “naval gazing” wherein one can spend so much time examining every jot and tittle of flaw, fault, and failure one loses any hope of understanding or experiencing the John 14:27 peace that calms troubled hearts (Jesus) and the Philippians 4:6-7 kind of peace [3] that surpasses all comprehension (Paul) as the bigger spiritual picture gets lost in, well, the flamey mess.

public domain image of waterBut fortunately, I am also reminded of Psalm 23:2-3 (NASB):

He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
(Psalmist who dealt with his own hot messes)

Once more, Jesus Christ to the rescue.

For His part of righteousness: His sacrifice on the cross in my stead (John 3:16).

For my part of righteousness: His sacrifice on the cross in my stead AND His help with my daily choices, quiet waters to quench the heat.

(Thank You, Lord.)


[1] http://www.answers.com/topic/holiness

[2] http://www.dianedew.com/holiness.htm

[3] 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

Images from the public domain.

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2 Responses to Hope for A Hot Mess

  1. pnissila says:

    “Amen” Back at ya! ;).

    Such obsession with (errant)self is a product of imbalance, to be sure, not to mention in some cases wrong teaching.

    When I was a kid in Roman Catholicism, the nuns and priests emphasized the importance of “examining our conscience” each night before bed to make sure we had the perfect list of sins to confess come Saturday lest we inadvertently (or advertently, for that matter) miss one thus rendering our “confession” null and void AND adding one more sin to the mix. If I remember correctly, such a sin was “mortal,” as opposed to “venial,” meaning, could send one straight to Hell, as opposed to Purgatory for an unspecified amount of time (still flames, though). Of course, one could always find some kind of indulgence to cancel some or all, depending, the Purgatory time….I’ll just stop here… (Catholic and ex-Catholic triggers).

    But RCism isn’t the only denomination that inspires such rabid introspection, I have found, over the years, the unintended (and intended) fallout of which is an obsession with guilt which causes no end of spiritual angst. Not to mention an even more fastidious adherence to whatever dogma “those in the know,” i.e., the leadership, mandate to subdue the pain… AND, need I add, to keep the faithful on the hook and contributing to the coffers…

    Or am I still recovering from cynicism? 😉

    Anyway, here’s to balance, correctly taught and applied!

    Ah. Grace. My contribution to songs of praise and worship here and hereafter will be on the theme of grace and every single variation thereof.


  2. Amen, Phyllis! While examining the self to see if one is in the faith is a good thing, there is such a thing as an overactive conscience that can interfere with our joyous walk with God. May all seek a needed balance so that we can ask God for help in making changes while not beating ourselves up for our shortcomings.


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