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Embraced by Holiness author Kathy Howard

NH: What inspired you to write a book on holiness at this point in your ministry?

KH: Two years ago, when Fifty Shades of Grey hit the bookstores and the NY Times Bestsellers list, the novel caught the attention of American women – including many Christian women. They gobbled up the erotica with a shrug and justifications like these: It’s only fantasy. I’m not participating; I’m just reading fiction. Christian women in my church and your church bought into the lie that it’s no big deal, that holiness doesn’t really matter in the lives of believers. But it does matter. The response to this book is just one sad reminder that the American church needs to realign ourselves with God’s truth rather than the culture around us. My prayer is that Embraced by Holiness will remind believers that God’s call to holiness is for both our good and His glory.

NH: In the book, you quote a Barna poll where a majority of Americans who profess Jesus as Savior hesitate to define themselves as holy. Why do you think this is, and how can we re-align our definition and perspective?

KH: That same poll also reveals that the majority of believers either don’t think God wants them to be holy or don’t know whether God wants them to be holy. These statistics show a general lack of understanding of what the Bible teaches about holiness. Other Christians recognize the truth that God commands His children to be holy and want to please Him, but they think it’s too difficult or life gets in the way. Others compare themselves to the Christians around them and think they’re doing pretty good. But, God doesn’t call us to “pretty good.” His holiness is our standard The purpose of this study is to clear up the confusion about holiness to show that God is both the One who calls us to holiness and the One who also provides what we need to be holy.

NH: You take some time to offer a little science and some facts EmbracedbyHoliness_N144115regarding God’s creation. Have we lost a sense of God’s holiness because we don’t stop to consider these things? Is it because we’re so busy or jaded? Why do you think many people don’t have a true sense of awe of God?

KH: I think there are several reasons we’ve lost a true sense of awe of God. First, our culture has taught us to be self-absorbed. We are too self-focused and therefore, not nearly enough God-focused. One of the best ways to change that is to spend time thinking about the greatness of God, to quietly sit and contemplate His character and power. But that brings up another problem, which you already mentioned – we are simply too busy. Far too many less important things vie for our attention and win.

NH: How can we grow and deepen our sense of awe of God’s holiness?

KH: Understanding what holiness is–God’s and ours–is a good place to begin. Then purposefully watching for demonstrations of God’s holiness around us. And when we see these, if we discipline ourselves to take the time to stop and absorb it, our awe of God will grow. The funny thing is, the more we recognize His holiness, the more sensitive we will become to it. We just have to get started!

NH: What’s next on the horizon for your ministry?

KH: Recently, I’ve become involved in a ministry that advocates for learning centers that minister to girls from the slums in Bangladesh. I will have an ongoing role with that ministry. Also, I am in the beginning stages of several other books and am continuing to speak at women’s events across the country. I love meeting God’s women from all over!

Read an excerpt from Embraced by Holiness.