Shavuot 2011 is almost here, beginning Sat evening, 6/11 until Sun evening, 6/12. It is the culmination of counting the 50 omer starting from the Feast of Firstfruits during Passover week.
Shavuot was the day YHVH gave the Torah to His people. It is also the day the Holy Spirit descended upon and filled the apostles.
It is one of the biggest tragedies of the Messianic world that there is so little holiness within the very group that makes such a big deal out of Shavuot!
First, what is holiness? How does scripture define holiness? It is important to remember that holiness does not primarily consist in what we wear or how we look, or how often we go to church or how much we pay in tithes. After all, the Pharisees did all of this and more and yet ultimately failed in living holy.
Holiness is primarily a heart issue. It is an inner sanctification, an inner purity, in which one is doing all that one knows to do to please Yahweh. Holiness is, in essence, loving Yah with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. It is keeping love of Yah and men as the foremost purpose in our lives. It is the willingness to do whatever it takes to daily conform our lives to Yah's standards and not our own.
Yet often, we ignore or forget Yah's standards.
I remember vividly bringing a Russian man along with his head covering wife and their ten children to a Messianic congregation I had been attending for a couple of years. Unfortunately, modesty was often ignored at this congregation as some of the lady dancers would often wear revealing clothing.
This Russian man was so embarrassed and shocked at the lack of modesty, that he left hurriedly and never returned. I felt angry and ashamed that a Messianic congregation was so sloppy in areas of holiness and modesty.
Women may cover their heads during prayers in some Messianic congregations, but it often stops there. Yet even the New Testament is so clear about the need to cover the head when in an attitude of prayer, which should continue without ceasing!
This is not an article on head coverings, but I'm trying to make the point that holiness is severely lacking in Messianic congregations today.
Yah expects us to live holy, blameless lives. Titus chapter 2 makes it very clear that the grace offered us is a grace that denies all ungodliness and leads to uncompromising holiness. But where is this holiness today?
I have attended at least two Messianic congregations in which after the service, on shabbat, the pastor and several others would violate the shabbat by going out to eat!
Do we really expect the fire of the Holy Spirit to consume our lives and guide our affairs when we refuse to rid our lives of sin and refuse to take the Torah seriously?
I think in light of how absent holiness is from Messianics today, this Shavuot it would be appropriate to meditate on the supreme holiness of Yahweh, and to examine our lives, making sure we are living holy and pure so as to please our Heavenly Father.
Psalm 119 is all about placing a smile of pleasure on Yah's face. This goal requires that we live holy. We cannot please Him without holiness. There are literally thousands of scriptures in both the Tanakh and the Brit Chadasha about living holy and blameless.
The Words from Yah to Avraham echo down to us, "Walk before Me and be thou perfect." Avraham did not balk at that command, claiming it would be impossible. He obeyed the command!
To truly celebrate Shavuot as it ought to be celebrated, make sure your life is holy, without sin, for this is the essence of what the coming holiday is all about.
After all, as the great preacher Leonard Ravenhill once said, "The greatest evidence that one has the Holy Spirit is that one's life is holy."
In Yahshua and by His Torah,