I Peter 1:14-16 (NIV) 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.”
Be holy, because I am holy. What does that mean anyway? God is holy. Of course, He is God. But how can an ordinary person like me who sins every single day and relies solely on the Grace and Mercy of the Living God to get by each day and my only hope is that faith that I have in Him. How can I, just plain old me, ever be holy? There are a lot of people who live by comparison adopting a holier-than-thou attitude but who is truly holy? Is it even possible? The dictionary defines the word “holy” as having a spiritually pure quality and to be dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church or religion. I find spiritual purity to be completely dependent on daily repentance and submission to the Lord. How do I know if my dedication is devoted to service to God or the church or my religion? Not sure that’s how most people read the definition but my heart says that there are many ways humans determine holiness but according to God’s Word there is only one way to be like God and holy.
Our quest for holiness is ongoing as it tells us in I Peter 1:13 that we must remain fully alert and sober setting our hope on the grace “to be brought to you when Jesus Christ” returns. We receive mercy each day but there is a promise of grace to come when Jesus comes back to fully redeem us from sin and death. Until that time all a person can do is strive to be like the Lord and remain holy. This means that no matter how long a person loves and serves God on earth that they will never be holy but simply pursue holiness. Spiritual purity is impossible in a body full of flesh and desires contrary to God which rebel daily against His Word, Will and Way in us.
I Peter 1:22-23 (NIV) Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
Every person who comes to Christ lives on a level playing field. In other words, there is no one righteous not a single one outside of Jesus. By coming to Jesus Christ, asking Him to be our Savior and accepting Him as Lord of our life does not eliminate sin, our struggle against sin or change us in any way from anyone else…yet. It is the promise of salvation and redemption that gives us living hope. Those who believe will fall in love with Jesus. They will pursue the Lord, follow Him, serve Him and try to live a way that is holy and acceptable to Him. However the problem with holiness is our perception of what that is. Only God is completely holy. He is perfect. He is flawless. He is blameless. The righteousness obtained by men and women who come to the Lord is from the love and grace of Jesus Christ. It is not who I am. It is Christ in me showing through. There is no room for arrogance or pride in a believer. Nothing good that I become, nothing that I have and nothing I do is motivated, enacted or enabled by me. It is all the Holy Spirit working in and through me.
With this in mind, as a born-again believer, how can I be holy? I must have sincere love that is fully operational in my life. Love that prohibits sin from taking up space between me and my Savior. Love that is committed to forming a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ rather than engaging in religious behavior in the hope of earning a position in heaven. Love that reaches out pulling others close to us so that they can see the Light of His Love at work in us. Love never pushes away people. It does not disregard those who are different. Love does not give up on those who keep giving in. Holiness is a call to love one another deeply. No more skin deep affection but truly putting others before ourselves in selfless sacrifice. The biggest sacrifice of the human life is pride. Giving up all we have and know to follow Christ is one thing, but when the walls built by fear, anxiety and pride come down vulnerability and brokenness are exposed to the hurt of others but the true blessing in sincere love is that our Healer can touch our heart and complete us. When His Completeness touches our brokenness, it is then we experience His Holiness. He makes us holy.
Colossians 3:12-18 (NIV) Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I am God’s Chosen People. We are consecrated to be holy and dearly loved. In order to allow others to see who I am in Jesus Christ and minister His Message to others, I must be properly clothed. Not in my natural apparel, but rather as I must choose to wear compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience at all times. Even when I am right, completely right, I cannot allow my meekness to be turned to pride because I still sin just like you do every single day. Each person is someone Jesus died for whether they choose to accept His Gift or not so they are worthy of my compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience. People are overbearing. They will hurt you, disappoint you, let you down, and talk about you or worse. Human nature creates a competitive nature that opens the door to comparison the greatest love stealer and joy killer of all. My place in my Father’s Kingdom is secured just for me. No one can take my place. I cannot take the place of another. He loves me for me. He loves you for you. He is desperate for both of us to come home.
Forgiveness maintains a holy lifestyle. Bitterness will choke out every work of God in us and move of God around us. Our entire relationship with God through Jesus Christ is based on our ability to accept His Grace that forgives us of every sin ever committed. Though one may believe that there are different levels of sin, there is not. Sin is sin. One sin would have required every single ounce of blood in Jesus Christ. It would have demanded His Entire Life just the same. Forgiveness cannot be withheld from others and continually accepted by us. God hates double standards.
Does the Peace of Christ rule in your heart today? Peace is evidence of unity with Christ. When fear and anxiety rule our hearts and minds, it means that faith has been replaced by doubt and must be dealt with immediately. The Peace of God will permeate our life and overflow into every other relationship in our life. It creates unity rather than tearing it apart and destroying relationships. Harmony is of the same level of anointing as the oil that ran down Aaron’s beard. God desires unity in His People. He has given us complete peace in the righteousness that we have in Him now through His Son. Peace is established and maintained in our relationship with Jesus Christ. If our peace is compromised, it is a relationship issue not relative to the world around us that knows no peace.
Be thankful. Are you thankful today? Thankfulness is where a believer finds contentment. Contentment is a form of peace in us. Godliness with contentment is great gain. (I Timothy 6:6) Contentment is a form of completeness. It is a type of holiness. It is completely satisfied and at peace with the Lord and nothing in this life can touch it. Anything untouchable and not influenced by this world becomes holiness as it is consecrated and set apart for God alone. When a believer becomes thankfulness and steps into godliness contentment will follow and consecrate their life to the Lord no matter what their natural circumstances, situations or conditions may be. Holiness takes our hope and puts it all in the Hands of Jesus.
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.” What is the message of Christ? For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son so we could have everlasting life. This is the message. However, in this day and age that may call the end times, what is the message of our lives as Christians? What is the point of our preaching from the many pulpits around the world?
2 Timothy 3 warns that in the “terrible times” called the last days that people will be “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power.” Did you see the end of this passage? Who are these people? They are Christians who have a form of godliness. What is missing? Holiness. The completeness of God is not His Perfection alone. It is His Love. His Love is perfect beyond human comprehension. Are we loving like we should? If not, there is the danger of falling into the group detailed above who have a form of godliness but not holiness. Lord, make me holy like you are holy. Holy Spirit cultivate true love in my heart, sincere love, the kind of love that sets me apart from the world and establishes me in Your Kingdom…forever.
2 Timothy 2:19-21 (NLT) But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.” In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
“The Lord knows those who are His…” I want the Lord to know me. God will identify with me if He sees His Son, Jesus in me. It is my only chance of escaping judgment. To be found in right standing with God and live in the Kingdom is not based on anything that I can do for myself but relies completely of the Unfailing Love and Unending Grace of Jesus Christ. With this in mind, holiness can never be an esteemed position in my life but to live in complete brokenness before the Lord as He fills all the voids, hurts, faults and failures in my life.
Many stories are told of people who find old shoeboxes filled with money hidden away for years. My own grandfather used to hide silver coins in trash bags to prevent theft and keep them safe. In the basement of my grandparent’s home, you might find a bag of silver coins hidden in the middle of ten bags of old clothes and worthless things. The paper box a treasure is found in remains worthless. Its value is not in its composition but what it is filled with. The plastic garbage bags were about a dollar for an entire box of them. They had little value as sold. The treasure in each one was the silver coins hidden within them. Sometimes we confuse the graciousness of God for our own personal piousness, it is not. I am nothing apart from Jesus Christ. His Love is the very potential of my life that releases purpose and shares a worthwhile message to the world. I am to be holy as He is holy. My holiness is dependent on my ability to love like Jesus. To be useful to the Kingdom of God is not my ability to do all the right things and avoid sin at all costs though my respect for my Lord will cause this change, but it is my commitment to love that makes me a useful utensil. Lord, I ask you to humble my heart today. Remove every condition that I have placed on others and release more love in me to bond and unite the Kingdom of God as you desire. Teach me to release the worthless things to hold tightly to this treasure in me who is Jesus Christ. Make me holy, Lord as You are holy today and every day in the Name Above All Names – Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:10-12 (NLT) When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him. So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of