Holy Vision

“I go to a sanctified church,” my neighbor Tommy would say, as he went to double beat clapping and alternate foot stomping while singing a song that his choir performed. “We be jammin’.” And as a girl I longed to go to his church to see his sanctified choir in action, but I knew I had to wear a long dress, and I didn’t have any long dresses, and it would also be hard for me to look somber like his plain-faced mother and sisters did. They looked so serious, I guess about God. I asked my mother what a sanctified church was and she told me about some of their practices, but all I remember is “the women have to wear long dresses and little or no makeup, especially red lipstick and nail polish.” As a young lover of fashion and makeup, I knew I couldn’t go to a sanctified church. I would have to settle for my Methodist one.

You may have heard of sanctified churches too, and maybe, like me, you thought they were a part of the sanctified denomination. But age and wisdom helped me to understand that there is no sanctified denomination and that all Christian churches should have sanctified, or holy, people, those whose hearts yearn to be like God.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that we are gods, with a little “g,” but God, through Jesus Christ, has called Christians to work in His behalf while we are on the earth (2 Corinthians 5:20). In order to do this, you have to set yourself apart from a human agenda and align yourself to God for His use. This is being sanctified (sanctification); this is being holy. This does have something to do with music, makeup and clothes because sanctification has everything to do with your behavior that emanates from a pure heart (1 Peter 1:13-23).

So the vision of a holy woman is one who exchanges her desires and other people’s agendas for her so she can clearly be aligned with Christ and able to accomplish His mission. Depending on the woman, this may affect your choice in music and the way you wear your makeup and clothes. Most likely your heart’s desire will demonstrate who has your attention—you and the world or God. But know this: sanctification is an ongoing process, one we don’t complete until we go to heaven. So be encouraged if you can’t seem to shake that hoochie in you; keep seeking God and eventually that hoochie will shake you loose.

By Rhonda J. Smith copyright 2009

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2 responses to “Holy Vision

  1. (Please forgive any typos or redundancy. I’m typin this from my phone and the words are so small I can barely see them.) Man, it is so encouraging to read a post like this. I remember when I was very young in Christ being very (sometimes in an unintentionally offensive way) interested in other people’s church customs. My church was a pretty young, casual, come as you are, chill type of church. People listened to what they wanted as long as it wasn’t crass or giving wrong messages about relationships. You drank what you wanted as long as you weren’t falling over and cursin folks out. People understood if you couldn’t make it to church every week. So when I started talking to some of my friends about what “church” looked like for them, my eyes were opened to a world of doilies, lap cloths, 6 hour services and many other things that were foreign to me. I felt conflicted because I felt like I thought that’s what “holy” had to look like so I started to mimic my friends with these practices but there was no heart behind it. Though I might’ve gone about things back-end-first I’m still thankful for some of my time spent employing these rituals because I’m sure they kept me away from some mess. And I realized part of the purpose of sanctification was indeed accomplished in that I could see my friend as someone really interested in looking like God’s child. (I can’t speak to her actual spiritual condition cuz I don’t know but she was indeed set apart in action at least) I’m also reminded of the Law given to the Old Testament Israelistes who, for the purposes of being protected and set apart as God’s chosen people, engaged in practices that we might call strange and are no longer bound to under the New Covenant. As I grew in my knowledge of the Lord, I began to understand the reasons for some things done in the sanctified churches and no longer desired some of the things that the church prohibited, not because it was on the list of Don’ts but because I wanted what God wanted. My sanctification began to take spiritual root. I’m also REALLY encouraged by the truth that sanctification is a process! You’ll notice that I said I no longer wanted SOME of the things of the world. There are still tons of things my flesh still longs for (yall keep prayin for me and my neo-soul music lol). But as the Christ in me continues to grow, I can start walking away one Jill Scott album at a time, one short dress at a time, one frivolous pursuit at a time. And this time it isn’t so I can win the Holiest Roller Award. This time it’s for the real prize. B-)

  2. musingsofastrongblackwoman

    Christen,
    This is so transparent. Thanks for taking the time, especially from your mobile phone, to write this. You encourage me.

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