The start of the New Year means new beginnings, which means making New Year’s resolutions. For many, this involves returning to the gym so they can be in better shape.
The gym experience is an interesting one. It is the vehicle to pursue the quest for the better, more physically fit you, so you cannot just be more attractive, but more useful as you live out a healthy lifestyle.
After taking a month or so off from working out, I will make my January return, enthusiastic and ready to maintain that healthy lifestyle as I start 2018.
When I go to the gym, there is a machine I use to begin the day’s workout. The device is located by the giant mirror and is also adjacent the two workout machines that attract a lot of attention from the steroid induced twenty-somethings.
The mirror and the two workout machines that attract the young buffed adults both serve the same purpose, namely to point out to me my flaws.
These gentlemen remind me that I am no longer the 20 something buff young man I once was, a fact that the giant mirror shouts to me, whether I want to listen or not.
By being in the presence of people who are much closer to perfection than I am, crystallizes to me my flaws.
My workout experience is not wholly unlike the experience Isaiah had when he got a glimpse of God’s radiant holiness in Isaiah 6.
Isaiah shares his experience, as he saw God as he is – holy and high and lifted up. He uses the literary device of repetition to emphasize God’s holiness by saying that God is holy, holy, holy, meaning that God is really, really holy. The result of his encounter was that he became undone.
The encounter enabled him to see his sin and the sins of the people around him. By getting a vision of God’s holiness, it enabled Isaiah to see himself more accurately.
Some may balk at this in our modern culture and say such an experience would result in a reduced self-esteem. I would counter this line of thinking by saying that sometimes things like our identity and the idols we serve need to be revealed to us so they can be deconstructed and then have God reconstruct our lives around an identity that is rooted in Christ and a heart that longs for God.
What Isaiah needed was an encounter with God’s holiness to prepare himself for service and faithfully fulfill God’s calling. After receiving God’s grace and ministry, he was able to face the challenges that his ministry would bring.
Similarly, it may be a good idea to start the new year with an encounter with God’s holiness, so he can minister to the areas in your life that hinder useful service.