Holiness is a word that speaks volumes all by itself! It is used sparingly in life and can even be a bit intimidating or difficult to relate to! It almost feels like an unreachable, untouchable, and unfathomable character trait even for Christians. Yet the beauty of holiness is central to our relationship with God. Learning to identify with it helps to remove all its intimidating effects and difficulty in relating to it. Plus embracing its reality creates a need for us to reach, touch, and fathom the holiness of God! We discover through Jesus it isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Luke 11:2 “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name…” Herein lies the key to embracing holiness!
The word “hallowed” isn’t used much today outside of this prayer but it means to make holy and regard someone or something with the highest degree of honor and respect. Of course there is no name in heaven or earth that stands even close in honor or rank to the name of our Father who is in heaven so to hallow His name is a worthy use of our time! Even though His name is holy with or without our acknowledgement we personally experience His holiness by hallowing His name, giving it the respect it is due! Hallowing His name first and foremost every time we pray opens the revelation hatch to all His perfections. We begin to grasp the overall holiness of God by focusing our attention on the value and power inherent in His holy name.
We go deeper into the depths of God’s overall nature when we hallow His name! You see, the inherent holiness of His name IS the greatness and glory of all God’s perfections. Let me change that around so we can grasp the magnitude of that statement. God is perfect, through and through, and the greatness and glory of everything in Him is perfect and IS manifested in His name! Getting in tune with the holiness of our Father’s name puts us in harmony with all His perfection. We will spend eternity making melodious music with our Father, our Savior, and our precious Holy Spirit. We might as well get in rhythm with Him here on earth because He IS the symphony of life!
After all, this is OUR Father’s name we are speaking of – OUR Father we are bragging and boasting of – OUR Father who is holy therefore we can be holy – OUR Father who is in heaven – OUR Father who created the world – OUR Father who sent His one and only Son to save us – OUR Father who says He will do anything we ask if two of us agree on earth – OUR Father who is full of grace and mercy – OUR Father who is perfect – OUR Father who makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good – OUR Father who sends rain on the just and on the unjust – OUR Father who rewards His children – OUR Father who forgives our sin when we forgive others – OUR Father who carries out His will on this earth – OUR Father who gives good things to those who ask Him – OUR Father who we get to inquire of, admire, and spend time with – OUR Father is our everything!
These truths about our Father will be fully manifested as we hallow His name first. But we must also understand this will cost us some things in this lifetime; our time, effort, and obedience. This cost might seem at times to be too great but spending ourselves on Him pays huge dividends because our Father has invested everything He has into us! We ought to count the cost because then we will stay motivated to pay the price, knowing His dividends grow exponentially, and the return on our investment is unfathomable! A quick look at the cost/benefit ratio in terms of time, effort, and obedience demonstrates this truth perfectly.
Cost of our time: Hallowing His name takes lots of our time on a daily basis. It is more than merely saying “Hallowed is Your Name Father” and then moving on to the next thing. Instead, we pause and let the Lord reveal or renew another aspect of His holiness. There is nothing speedy about hallowing His name. It isn’t a quick in and out prayer but instead is a slow and steady revelation of His holiness, like marinating, where His character soaks slowly into our entire beings. We must learn to wait and marinate in each revelation, meaning we will need to sacrifice other things in life in order to be with Him.
The return on this investment: We are consumed by God. We get to be on this endless journey into hallowing His name and experiencing His holiness. We no longer live for this life but for His life. When we give Him our time, we get to soak n His holiness and be saturated in His presence. When we are tenderized to His perfection we cannot be hardened by the things of earth. This is a great return!
Cost of our effort: It is a long, continuous, never-ending, arduous, uphill climb to the peak of revelation inherent in the holiness of His name. The distractions of life make it difficult to stay focused on the journey ahead, and our “instant” “mega” society is no help when we have come to expect to get what we came for quickly and made to order. Hallowing His name though requires us to persevere, to stand the test of time, to build up muscle and endurance, to exert energy, and to pay attention when everything else demands it. Hallowing His name is not easy.
The return for our effort: We will have a strong, steady, trustworthy relationship with our Father because we increasingly know the cost He paid, and realize how little we work in comparison, not to mention He helps us. No matter how much energy we expend, how many sore spiritual muscles we accumulate (but then develop), how many demands we must say “no” to in life, the comfort, peace, hope, and faith we experience in our Father is unmatched. It is more than worth the effort!
Cost in terms of obedience: Jesus said,“When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name”. This is a command to obey not a suggestion we can take or leave. Our obedience to say what Jesus said to say when we pray will open doors to His holiness we can experience no other way. The Word says “to obey is better than sacrifice”. You see, sometimes we would rather sacrifice something because it is easier than obedience. For example, God calls you to go on a mission trip but you don’t have the time or energy so you give money to missions instead. Or, God has called you to give money to missions but you would rather go on a trip so use your money to fund your own trip. Or, God gives you a promotion but it requires you to relocate. You don’t want to so you tell God you will “make do” with less just so you can stay, thinking that pleases Him just as much.
Obedience is no easy task, especially when we would rather choose another path. We must obey and hallow His name because this is how we are told to pray, whether we like it, understand it, get tired of doing it or whatever other reasons we come up with for not obeying. Refusing to do it His way is disobedience. Obedience requires us to listen to God with an open heart, to hear what He says, and then do it. This is a cost many of us are unwilling to pay because it takes time and effort.
The return for our obedience: We will take more steps into the beauty of His holiness, into His perfection when we obey and hallow His name. We will know Him as He wants to be known. We will experience His will accomplished here on earth as it is in heaven. We will enjoy fellowship with our Father that disobedient children do not enjoy.
Choosing to hallow His name every day does something else for us! It creates desire to seek Him, to dwell with Him, to behold His beauty, and to spend time talking with Him. Desire is a driving force in knowing God! Psalm 27:4 “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”
Feeding our desire for the holiness of God will keep us from feeding the desires of our flesh, living in mediocrity, and settling for occasional glimpses of His holiness. All desires need to be fed in order to grow! They don’t just happen. We won’t desire something until we have gotten a taste of how good it is. For example, the first food parents should introduce to their young children is vegetables so that they acquire a taste for them. It is thought that because fruit has natural sugar, children will prefer it and not be interested in vegetables if fruit is offered first.
The point is that once we get a taste of something and like it, we usually want more. As we get older we try new things, acquire new tastes, and our desires grow according to those tastes. That’s why we are told in Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good…” When we get a taste of His goodness, of His holiness, we will see more, desire more, and experience more of His holiness. One of the best things we can do is to feed our desire for God with hallowing His name.
If you have already tasted and seen that the Lord is good – I would suspect your appetite is insatiable! That is a great place to live! If you are hungry to see God move in your life, but aren’t seeing or experiencing His presence and holiness, begin today to hallow His name! Once you do, you will get a taste of how holy His name is, get a glimpse of His perfection, and desire more! Yes, it will cost you something – but you won’t miss what you pay! God has a way of multiplying or extending time if you give Him first dibs. God will make you stronger, more efficient, and fill you with endless energy if you first hallow His name. And obedience will show your purpose and calling in life as you dwell in His safety, experiencing trust and security you can never experience outside of His will.
If you don’t know how to hallow His name – just do what Jesus said to do! When you pray, say, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name…” and see what the Lord will do if you give it up for Him!