There are many sermons preached on holiness, but not everyone responds to the challenge to live the talk. People mostly feel ‘the people’ or ‘the church’ should behave in a certain way according to their viewpoint or interpretation of Scripture. I have found that we too are often quick to excuse ourselves with personally validated reasons why we cannot fully respond to or answer the requirements of this call to holiness.
What does it mean to live holy?
Holiness is the opposite of worldliness. It is to say no to the world, the flesh, and the devil. Holiness though is more than just a list of don’ts. To be holy is to come into the power of God, to minister, live and move in His strength and not your own. It is His ability.
Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:15-16 – …but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
He did not mean to say ‘be perfect because I am perfect’ although that is absolutely possible in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. He meant holy. It is therefore worthwhile to explore the meaning of the word ‘holy’.
“Holiness is not the way to Jesus; Jesus is the way to holiness.”
The root of holiness
The Hebrew word for holy is “qodesh” meaning “apartness, set-apartness, separateness, sacredness.” Holy has the idea of heaviness or weight of glory. In Greek, the word for holy is “hagios” and means set apart, reverend, sacred, and worthy of veneration.” Here it applies to God Himself who is totally other, separate, sacred, transcendent, reverend, and set apart from every created thing. The idea is that God is different from us as He is spirit (John 4:24) and desires those who worship Him do so in spirit and truth (John 4:23).
How to become holy
It is impossible for man to be saved by ‘right living’ alone. Only in the name of Jesus can man be saved. (Acts 4:12). Likewise, even though we would be utmost willing, desirous and committed to live ‘holy’, it is impossible for us to do so by ourselves. God, the Holy Spirit, is the One Who works in us to sanctify us and forms Christ in us. (Romans 8:29). The Holy Spirit makes us holy by convicting us of our sin, (John 16:8), bringing us to repentance (Romans 2:4) and leading us to confess our sins. (1 John 1:9). As we intentionally cast off sins, we are cleansed by the Blood of Jesus, and the weight of sin is broken over our lives.
Someone once said; “Holiness is not the way to Jesus; Jesus is the way to holiness.”
Take a look at your own life
Once we come to a place where we are willing to admit and name the sins of our lives, we have begun to walk on the highway of holiness. It is easy to see what is wrong in the life of another because we do not see ourselves as all that ‘sinful’, ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’. It may require a time of fasting and prayer to remove the scales from your own eyes. Meditate and ponder Galatians 5:19-26 to assist you in this process. To live holy requires an honest look at ourselves, our conduct, how we speak to and about people, the way we handle relationships, money, time, the things we permit ourselves to do. It is always humbling and never comfortable once the Holy Spirit starts to work in your heart.
It is a continuous process
Holy living is a continuous process in the life of every believer. It is not a once off thing when we get saved. When someone is holy, they are free from guilt and shame. They are not dirty on the inside. Isaiah, who was probably living the purest life in his generation, immediately felt unclean when he looked at this perfectly clean being in his vision. He felt unclean and asked to be cleansed. To feel dirty on the inside is a terrible feeling. To be free from that sense of uncleanness, to be clean in our conscience is already worth more than any of the pleasures and lusts of this world. We are cleansed by the Blood of Jesus and by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Consider your time with God
- Consider to take some of the time you daily spend with God to ask Him to show you areas of your life that needs correction and recommitment to Him. Mirror it in Galatians 5:19-26.
- Admit to your wrongs before Him, without excuse.
- Ask Him to help you to change your ways, and continue to do so until the breakthrough comes.
- It is especially true in the case of breaking with habitual sins like over-eating, under-eating (bulimia/anorexia), indulging, retail therapy, pornography, different types of addictions etc.
- Look at all your relationships; are there people you must forgive? Perhaps you have been wronged by someone and must forgive. Or maybe you must grant someone forgiveness. Check your heart for any coldness. Usually, you can easily test yourself by how much you are willing to whole-heartedly pray for a specific person, or how much you want them to be blessed and prosper.
Sometimes such prayers would need prevailing and perseverance over time. Other times the breakthrough comes quickly, and you are released. Whichever way it happens, the blood of Jesus will cleanse you from all sin.
Pray the promises of God
- Therefore “COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE SEPARATE, SAYS THE LORD. DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN, AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU.” Corinthians 6:17).
- I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26).
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17).