Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
What does it mean to be holy? By definition, it means to be set apart. Holiness is to be specified for religious use or authority. To be holy is to be dedicated to serving God. It is to be a saint and devout. It is an exclusive calling for God’s People. Holiness is in your DNA and has been a part of you since creation. Unfortunately too often religiosity perverts the true meaning of holiness and Christians misinterpret it to mean hard line rule followers with a zero tolerance for sin not only our own life but the lives of other people. Everyone sins every day even people who are living a holy life. Holiness is a simple concept that has become extremely complicated with self-imposed rules and ideology that are contrary to God’s Idea. God has a distinct desire for His People to be separated from sin. But such a calling does not separate us from people. Holiness is a wardrobe change from filthy rags to garments as white as snow. It is a call from the mediocre squalor of compromise to the full blessing available to those who stop settling for less than God’s best. Holiness is never accompanied by pride unless of course we desire to become a Pharisee or other staunch religious ruler who decides to add to God’s Perfect Plan. Holiness is accompanied by tenderness, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. If this behavior does not set one apart, I don’t know what will. The darkness of this world is filled with harsh, merciless, mean, prideful, arrogant and impatient people so when you become someone who decides to act contrary to popular culture, it is a standout decision. Holiness requires flexibility as we bend with God’s Spirit and move in the direction of the Lord’s Still Small Voice that gently and lovingly will guide each moment of one who has given His Life into His Nail-Scarred Hands. Until holiness is fully understood, I am afraid we will continue to miss the mark of His Calling making it hard to be holy.
There are days that my indignation for sin carries over emotionally into my feelings for others. My personal struggle to avoid compromise leads to frustration with others who should be doing the same thing. Compassion gives way to consternation as harsh words of reprimand fill my mouth creating a bitterness that does not point others to a loving Savior but a God ready to exact immediate punishment for every single shortcoming or failure. That is not the God we serve, however; sometimes it is the god we project. Intolerance for sin should result in more love and compassion rather than a judgmental attitude toward those who struggle within its evil grips. It is a horrible battle filled with many regrets and those who have escaped should thank the Lord every day for their release rather than berate others for their continued bondage. It is terrible to see someone waste their life. It should provoke concern and alarm that they may be losing the battle for their soul. Religiousness takes over righteousness and soon a new sin of pride takes root strangling forgiveness that should flow through our life making us bitter, hateful and pious people. God has called us to love. He has called us to be holy by His Definition of the Word. We are to be loving, tender and gentle in our demeanor and way of life. It is a sacrifice of self that penetrates deeper than the things we do and how we act. It will sever the heart and break its hard exterior exposing our weak love that is tender, compassionate, merciful, generous, caring, humble, patient and sweet. It will open our eyes to see the hurting, desperate and broken. It will open our ears to hear the cries of the devastated. It will change us from hard-nosed Christians to compassionate believers who live to love as Jesus did. We will become holy.
I Peter 1:14-16 (NLT)
So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
As a Child of God, holiness is not optional. You cannot be part of this world, participate in the darkness thereof and be clothed in righteousness living in God’s Presence. Darkness has no place in the light. Because holiness is not optional, people tend to add additional rules and regulations such as prayer rituals, reading schedules, fasting regiments, etc. to prove that they are indeed able to be holy. I believe that God is calling His People back to true holiness that is not found in church or religion but in His Word and His Presence. God has to teach us to be holy. Jesus Christ modeled holiness. It is up to us to individually strive to understand this important aspect of faith and live it every day. Holiness is just as much about others as you. However, it is not a finger-pointing gesture but a hug. Holiness should draw in people. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I’ll draw men unto me.” We lift up Jesus by living a holy, consecrated life. The strength of holiness is much like the mighty oak or towering palm tree. It is not in the bark or trunk but the roots that hold it firmly to its foundation. The trees ability to bend and move in the wind with flexibility makes it viable in life’s storms. It increases its chance of survival. However, if it is unbendable and inflexible it will snap in fierce wind. Holiness is not hard. It is the opposite – the opposite of this world and the darkness that fills it. Holiness is not an excuse but an escape. It gains access to the Presence of God through obedience in loving others and making a difference in the life of people through an existence focused and consecrated to God.
John 17:16-17 (NLT)
They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.
Jesus prayed that we would be holy. Holiness is delineated in the Word of God. It is a love concept like no other. To move from selfishness and self-seeking into a life that seeks to constantly and consistently serve God. Serving God begins with loving His People even the unlovable ones. It means choosing to get our hands dirty helping others out of their filthy rags and into the new life God has for them. It requires prayer, worship and time studying God’s Word not to meet a quota but to know Him more and be more like the Lord. His Word is TRUTH. It will guide you to holiness. Start exercising the Spirit in your life today. Don’t take religion so seriously. Focus on your relationship with the Lord. Drop the act and become an active participant in this thing called holiness. Love will overflow from your life and just might touch another. Soon you will discover it’s not hard to be holy.