I am holy only on Sundays. The lengths I sometimes go to get ready for church would put the Old Testament priests, preparing to enter the Holy of Holies, to shame. By the time I am ready to head out the door, I am already glowing from the amount of makeup I have painted on my face, and I can almost feel a halo floating above my head.
I smile serenely as I drive to church, the roads are quiet, and cars are few and far between. I greet my church friends with hugs and big smiles, everyone is so friendly and warm, and so easy to get along with.
By the time worship starts, I feel like the holiest person on planet Earth, so loving, full of grace, incredibly forgiving, and with such strong faith I feel I can overcome any of life's challenges.
But soon the worship stops, the sermon ends, and the reality of living on Earth sinks in like a lead balloon.
I find myself struggling to keep up with my Holy Sunday persona. My patience is tested when the car in front of me goes at a snail's pace. I give the person at the supermarket my most evil eye when they cut my queue, and when someone asks for a favour, I pray for it to be a small, tiny favour.
You see, while I may tick the 'Christian' box on the Census form, and acknowledge Jesus as my Saviour, my flesh is still very stubborn.
If only I could be Christian-like only on Sundays and lead a completely different lifestyle from Monday to Saturday.
But just as an unfriendly personality will not win us any friends, living Holy-Only-On-Sundays will do us a great disservice if we are trying to point our friends and families to Jesus.
10 times better
The Bible tells the story of Daniel, a young man exiled to Babylon. He was a righteous man who loved God, but found himself in a strange land where no one recognised God's authority.
But Daniel and his friends stood strong in the ways of God and when the King of Babylon tested them he found they were 10 times better than the best men in the kingdom—they were wiser and had more understanding.
What would it look like to be 10 times better today? What would it take for the rulers of our society to stand up and say: those people are different!
I believe we are called to show more love, to be more forgiving, to be more generous and to go the extra mile when it comes to lending a hand to people in need.
You see, no one gets saved by your passionate worship, or your heavily-highlighted, colour-coded Bible, or your ability to quote scripture.
No, our actions must match our words. Our loving holiness must be more than just a Sunday affair.
Walk the talk
Two years ago, I volunteered at my church's community day. We went to clean a woman's house that had not seen a mop in 20 years. I very nearly had a heart attack when a spider scuttled out of a cooking pot I was in the middle of washing.
It took us nearly three hours, and a group of 20 people, to vacuum her house, wipe her windows, wash down her kitchen, and mow her lawn.
Nearly six months later, when I had all but forgotten about my brush with the horrible eight-legged creature, I ran into this woman at church. She had come to attend our Christmas production.
'I know you. You, and a group of people, came to help clean my house a few months ago' she said.
Imagine! She could have known me as the woman who had a fit when the checkout operator gave me the wrong change, or the woman who said she believes in God but refuses to forgive her enemy. But God says we are not to merely listen to the word, but do what it says (James chapter 1, verse 22).
Doing God's word is not an easy task, your flesh will have to die to itself on a continual basis, but I have since learnt it has filled my life with more love, joy, and peace, than if I had decided to lead life on my own terms.
Michele Ong is a former regional news journalist with a passion to be a voice for the marginalised and disenfranchised. Writing is as essential to her as breathing, and believes words contain life which is to be used to inspire, inform, and influence readers. Michele attends Auckland's City Impact Church with her family on the North Shore.
Michele Ong's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michele-ong.html