by Joey Bonifacio
The dictionary defines extraordinary as: not ordinarily encountered, remarkable, exceptional. An ordinary object can become special because of what it signifies, or the person connected to it.
As Christians, on our own, we are ordinary people. We are nothing special but we become extraordinary because of our connection with a holy God— who cares so much about us.
The Bible in Leviticus 10:10 defines holy as “uncommon.”
You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean. Leviticus 10:10
And yet, when we come to worship God, things have sometimes become ordinary, dull, and a mere routine. For a lot of people, church has become boring, because raising up of hands, reading the Bible, even fasting will mean nothing when we have not met God face to face. Apostle John was considered Jesus’s best friend, because of the encounter that he documents in Revelation.
“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Revelation 1:12-18
Worshipping God is but a natural response when you encounter God and there are two hallmarks of such an encounter.
1. It is a personal experience.
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” Isaiah 6:1
King Uzziah was one of the partners of Isaiah in the hopes of reforming Judah. He was one of the great Kings. He was prosperous, was victorious in battles, had good public reforms for Judah. With his passing came the death of hope for Isaiah— the death of an era. Isaiah went to the temple of God to find solace, to find comfort, but he encounters God.
Believe it or not, we sometimes treat God as a cat: cute, small, and something that brings us comfort. However, the Bible tells us the picture of God is that of a lion: unpredictable, uncontrollable, dangerous.
We all have a comfortable picture of God, but when we encounter something bigger, this picture will not suffice if we don’t fully understand who He is— that He cannot be contained.
Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory! Isaiah 6:2-3
When something is repeated in the Bible, it is to make a point. But you will not see that God is love, love, love, or that Jesus Christ is Christ, Christ, Christ. Because God is not just love, not just our Healer, Savior, Father, or Master. He is Holy. He is loving because He is holy, He is just because He is holy.
Our experience happens in different ways. For some it’s instantaneous. For others, it’s over a course of time. For some, they experience this in the high of their lives, and still for others they experience this in the low of their lives. The experience is different for each individual. It cannot be an experience through a proxy.
2. It’s a life-changing experience.
R. C. Sproul said in his book The Holiness of God: “God is too great for us; He is too awesome. He makes difficult demands on us. He is the Mysterious Stranger who threatens our security. In His presence, we quake and tremble. Meeting him personally may be our biggest trauma.”
Trauma is defined as when an impact happens to an object. Joseph, my eldest son had an accident a couple of years back. He needed to have 27 staples in his head to close the wound, plus they had to put two metal discs in his head. That experience was traumatic for all of us. Each one of us in the family was changed forever because of that experience.
God is a traumatic God. There’s no way to live the same way after we encounter Him. That’s when things will change in our lives. We sometimes start with the fruit instead of the root. The root is to experience God.
Then, when you encounter Him, you can’t help but live differently. When you encounter God you cannot help but say no to sin because you have experienced something too holy and precious to give up. You can’t help but read the Bible because these are the words of God who is bigger than the universe and is present in all of it, and yet chose to relate with you.
Nobody has experienced the magnificence of God and remained the same. Experiencing God will change us completely because His power is not just amazing, it’s beyond irrevocable. His holiness is something we will not be able to contain.