I first heard about Kentucky Go-Fasters in high school in Dayton, Ohio. In WWII many Kentuckians migrated to Ohio to work in the factories. The native buckeyes, as Ohioans call themselves, thought the Kentuckians a bit unsophisticated. Young Kentuckians would personalize their cars with things like: flashy mud-flaps, fender skirts (anyone remember those), fins, air scoops, fancy wheels, paint jobs with flames, spotlights and such. Typically those items made the car look like it would go fast, but it didn’t. It made the car look like something it wasn’t. Ohioans called them “Kentucky Go-Fasters.”
Kentuckians weren’t the only ones who bought “Kentucky Go-Fasters.” Buckeyes bought them too. We all do. We see that kind of pretension around us every day. Consider same-gender marriage.
The headline in our local paper trumpeted, “Marriage Equality.” Two men or two women in a relationship called marriage will never be equal to what God designed and Jesus described in Matthew 19. Same sex partners will sport a license; they may have a wedding celebration and even adopt, or through artificial means, take on parenting. All these are Kentucky Go-Fasters, decorating their “preference”, making it look like something it isn’t and can’t ever be.
A large number of incoming university students must take remedial courses in reading, writing and math to equip them for normal college work. They didn’t learn those in public school so their high school diploma becomes a Kentucky Go-Faster.
There are churches that sport Kentucky Go-Fasters. These are shows of faith, ornate buildings, bands, clubs, sports and social events that look good, but somehow fail the job of edifying the saints as Paul writes about in Ephesians 4. Those are pleasant things but are neither the true religion James writes about in James 1 nor the food in Hebrews 5. They don’t change what is in the heart of each member. Some evangelical churches are recognizing the fact and attribute the loss of young people to it.
How about our walk as Christians? Are we guilty of acquiring Kentucky Go-Fasters that don’t represent our true relationship with God? Things like attending every service, praying, singing, and carrying a Bible can look good, but may not represent our true heart. We need to do those things, but there is more. We need to truly be holy.
Paul says we need to put on the “…new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24). Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
What is holiness? Easton’s Bible dictionary says of holiness: “in the highest sense belongs to God (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 15:4), and to Christians as consecrated to God’s service, and in so far as they are conformed in all things to the will of God (Romans 6:19, Romans 6:22, Ephesians 1:4, Titus 1:8, 1 Peter 1:15). Personal holiness is a work of gradual development. It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance (1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 4:23, Ephesians 4:24).”
Easton goes on to say that holiness attaches itself first of all, not to visible objects, but to the invisible Yahweh, and to places, seasons, things and human beings only in so far as they are associated with Him. And while the idea of ceremonial holiness runs through the Old Testament, the ethical significance which Christianity attributes to the term is never wholly absent, and gradually becomes more prominent.
The Old Testament Hebrew word for holiness is “qodesh.” Its meaning revolved around the concept of separated or consecrated. Hence, God is separated from the common. Items, places or people described as holy had the same connotation. In the New Testament, Greek words translated holiness include: “hosiotes” (Luke 1:75), “eusebeia” (Acts 3:12), “hagiosune” (Romans 1:4,
2 Corinthians 7:1) and derivatives: “hagiasmos”
(1 Thessalonians 4:7, 1 Timothy 2:15, Hebrews 12:14) and “hatiotes” (Hebrews 12:10). All allude to piety and sanctification. One other word is “hieroprepes” that alludes to reverence (Titus 2:3). Holiness is associated with sanctification, and an ethical life.
How do we avoid pretense and live in holiness? We must be set apart from the common as Peter says in 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” God gave the local church for “…the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:12).
Our personal goal should be to: “…come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). We do it by keeping God in our every thought, walking in the light (1 John 1:7) and meeting with fellow Christians for mutual edification. And we don’t let our lives be defined by Kentucky Go-Fasters. Jim Neff