Back in August 2009, I was featured in Exemplify Online & Magazine's monthly issue. It was a proud moment for me and helped me fully understand that my writing IS good enough! Exemplify has since ended it's online ministry, so hence the magazine, but I thought I'd share my article here. It is long for a blog post, but I do hope and pray that you are blessed by it!
Holiness – living a holy life - is something that has not, and still does not, happen easily for me. I set out to do what is right to honour God, but the habits of old creep in. It’s not through lack of wanting to please God, but more through a lack of reminding myself to live how God intended. For me it also goes a bit deeper than that. The knowledge of having lived a life less holy can make me feel that I’m not deserving of God’s presence in my life.
So, what is holiness?
Basically, holiness is what God is. In Leviticus 19:2 He tells us to “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” Holiness is about how I should live; my thoughts, words and actions. It’s living a life filled with love for God and for others. God is love, and thus holiness is love. It encompasses right living based on who God is and how He tells us to live. It’s what Jesus displayed and how the Spirit guides us now. Whether we do this or not shows how we feel about His love and His requirements of us.
Holiness is recorded in the Strong’s Concordance as both a noun and a verb. It describes what God is while also tells how we should be – holy, one and the same. What is so brilliant about this word is that both the noun and the verb say exactly the same thing; set apart, consecrated, sacred, separate, sanctified, dedicated, devoted. To be set apart, implies the action of set-apartness, i.e. living in the world but not of it; to be consecrated, we are to live a life of consecration, i.e. giving all we have to God for His purpose; and so on.
Being holy entails sharing God’s heart with others and living out who He is and what He stands for; being dedicated and devoted. By being holy we are not only honouring God but also outwardly acknowledging His selection of us. 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us about God “...who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” We are called to have a fearful and grateful respect for our Holy Creator and “Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous and praise his holy name.” - Psalm 97:12.
How do we live a life of holiness? As holiness cannot be achieved without Him or by our own works, we must ask Him for help in this area. We must invite Him in and make room for Him in our hearts, minds, and lives. We have to let Him in and be a willing student. 1 Chronicles 16:29 tells us to “...ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness.” We do this by offering ourselves, kneeling before Him and giving everything we have to Him.
We have been born again and made new through the blood of Jesus Christ, so we can fully cast off our old selves. This can be a difficult thing to do depending on life’s circumstances. I have struggled with this for many years and am only now starting to overcome and release my past. Ephesians 4:24 tells us that we are “...to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” The first step to achieving this is to pray Psalm 51:10 and ask God to “Create in me a pure heart...and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” God wants us to live with a clean heart and new spirit, and it is He alone who can help us to achieve this.
An important thing to do is learn more about God and His holiness through reading His Word, and also sharing it. He has given us His Word, written down by his servants and messengers to guide us today and into the future. Every word is relevant in one circumstance or another. We must learn it and meditate on it daily. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” - 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
It’s not only our lives that must be holy; our homes should be too. Deuteronomy 23:14 tells us that “...the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.” Holy living flows from home to work to church to family to friends. It is not just one part of our lives; it is all of our lives. It’s said that home is where the heart is, and that is certainly true of holiness. We are our natural selves at home. If holiness is there, then holiness can be carried into the outside world as it is in our heart.
The result of following these principles will be living a life that is holy; being a living example of God’s love. As He is holy, so we will be, but only when we stay close to Him. He is the root and we are the branches. “If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.” Romans 11:16. This verse reminds me that, as a parent, as I display holy living my daughter will see God’s love and holiness showing through me.
All these things will help us to grow into the person God has planned for us to be. We were made in His image. He sees us differently, and knows us to be different, from how we see ourselves and how others see us. He knows our potential. It’s an exciting prospect to think that within us is an incredibly amazing person just waiting to be released! 1 Peter 1:14-16 provides apt advice in regard to holy living -
“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
Let’s live it; let’s do it! It IS possible in Him, through Him and for Him. His holiness, and His love for us, is more than enough reason to honour Him by living holy lives. Let’s live out HOLINESS.
Living ... in that I’m free to live as God intended
Newness ... in that I have been born again through the blood of Jesus
Service ... delivered daily in honour of my Father
(All scripture has been taken from the New International Version.)