“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” – Luke 6:22-23.
The church to which I belong is part of the Holiness Movement, which at one time was dubbed “holy rollers” because of the emotion expressed in worship services. Please don’t get this confused with Pentecostals who practice speaking in tongues. The holiness churches of yesteryear dressed conservatively, worshiped liberally (with shouting, praising, marching, and much weeping). Churches within holiness denominations grew like wildfire a century ago because they were sincere, prayerful, loving, ministered to the poor, and they were bold in their praise of God.
While certainly not true of every church in the holiness movement, pastors would walk the aisles, preach at a shout, point fingers, raise their hands and emphasize the second work of grace, emphasize holy living, and emphasize “praying through.” Those who attended such services could rarely remain quiet. Shouts of “glory, praise be, amen, and hallelujah!” abounded.
Those upon whom the Spirit fell could be seen marching around the sanctuary like the children of Israel around Jericho, weeping at the altar for hours on end, and leaping for joy.
To cast a wide net, I assert that one would be hard pressed to identify a holiness church by the clothing of its congregation, the message of its pastor or the actions of those on attendance on Sunday mornings.
Today, many – though certainly not all – pastors give uplifting inspirational messages that rarely mention the holiness doctrines. Pastors are too sophisticated to walk the aisles and shout. They rarely get emotional. Experts teach them that things are not done that way today. Such behavior, according to the experts, turn people away. Preachers, then become lecturers, motivational speakers, and resist the leading of God.
Those in attendance rarely voice an amen or hallelujah for fear that others will stare and judge.
Yet, Christ tells us in the Beatitudes that if we follow him we will be persecuted. If we are persecuted, He continues, we should leap for joy, because we will be rewarded in heaven.
When was the last time you leaped for joy? I’m not talking about bouncing during a mind-numbing praise song, rather when did you last shout or leap for joy at the delivery of the Gospel.
I am not one to advocate emotions over worship, but Christ tells us to praise Him, so I encourage you to rejoice over all He has done for you. And if the Spirit moves, shout and leap for joy. Let them call us holy rollers.
Holiness is, perhaps, the most misunderstood concept in Christianity. Anyone who has striven to follow the life of Christ can likely tell you that it is impossible to do. No one can match His love, His grace, or His compassion. For no one but Jesus is perfect. Once the believer is filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit, though, he or she is filled to the brim with the love of Christ, and desires nothing more than to please God and follow in Christ’s steps. The love of sin is gone. In its place is a love and passion for others. That is Christian Holiness. This is Christian Holiness Daily.