the state of being holy
“a life of holiness and total devotion to God”
Before I explain the title of this post, I need to say that even thinking about the topic of holiness makes me nervous. Talking about holiness and explaining my thoughts on it, that is a completely different ball game. Holiness is such a deep subject that I will only be able to skim the surface of it. And before I lose any readers, I am not going to tell you to stop listening to certain music, stop swearing, stop watching a certain TV show or movie. I won’t tell you who you can and can’t hang out with or what you should and shouldn’t do on the weekends (I mean, except that you should go to church because we all need Jesus, am I right?). All of what I just mentioned is none of my business, and your decisions on those types of things are between you and God.
If you haven’t guessed yet, the name I gave this post is a play on words. Like many of my fellow millennials (and some cool moms thrown into the mix) my favorite pairs of jeans have holes in them. I want to wear them all the time, but I take them off and put something different on if I feel like they aren’t appropriate for a certain occasion. Similarly, I find that I take off my “holy” jeans for certain things. Those certain things being: meeting new people (especially if they aren’t Christians), when I want to see a movie that I maybe shouldn’t, when I listen to Cardi B or Drake, or when someone cuts me off on my way to work. That is just a very short list of things that may sway me to take off my “holy” jeans, and it may seem like it isn’t that big of deal. However, when we add God’s grace to the picture, it suddenly becomes very heavy. The vastness of God’s grace loses a bit of its weight when we decide when we want or don’t want to pursue holiness.
Holiness Is Not A Term Reserved Only For God
I think that some Christians believe that holiness is a term that we only use when we are referring to God. The holiness of God refers to His majesty and the fullness of who He is as perfect God. It also refers to His ethical holiness, which is what is applicable to us.
1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV) says,
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.”
God is morally perfect, and He calls us to be like him. Therefore, holiness absolutely applies to us, and it is important that we take these verses to heart.
This terminology sounds super icky. In fact, you may be thinking that it doesn’t sound like God. I have good news because it isn’t God. God never feels like He is wasting His grace on anyone. He gives it freely, generously, and lovingly. It is His gift to us. What we do with it, or better yet how we treat it, is where the term “wasted grace” comes in. Grace is not a “get out of jail free card.” Grace is the very thing that allows us to pursue holiness. Because we are sinners, we will never attain a completely holy life. God’s grace is there to pick us up and forgive us when we fail, and we carry it with us when we try again. That is how grace and holiness go hand in hand. Don’t take what God has given you for granted. Grace should empower you and embolden you to try your best to live a life of holiness, a life of devotion to God.
2 Timothy 1:9 (NLT)
For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.
Easier Said Than Done
It is easier to say that you will be holy than it is to actually live it out. It is easier to say that you will wash the dishes after dinner than it is to actually do them. God only asks that we make an effort. Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) says,
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
This verse brings up a good point. Living a life of holiness is one of the best ways that we can witness to all who are around us. When we live in holiness, the evidence of the Lord shines through us. It’s not easy. No one ever said it would be, but we need to try. We need to strive for it.
It’s Between You And God
I mean it when I make this statement. It really is between you and God, but in order to say that something is between you and God, you need to know Him. Philippians 2:5 (NKJV) says,
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
You can’t live like or for someone if you don’t know them. Spend some time reading God’s word and praying. Find out who He is, and learn what it means to be more like Jesus. A great book to read on this is Dance, Stand, Run by Jess Connolly. The entire book is devoted to the topic of holiness, and it made me view grace and holiness in a way that I had never seen them before. It is truly a life changing book, and I recommend that you check it out if you are looking for a good read!
As I wrap this up, I’d like to say that this is a newer development in my life. If I’m being honest, I had gotten pretty used to taking off and putting on my “holy” jeans whenever I wanted. I got pretty good at it too. This is still something that I am growing in every day, and I will continue to grow in it for the rest of my life. Reading up on and exploring this topic is what “kick started” the deepening of my relationship with Jesus a little over a year ago. It’s when I decided that I wanted more than the surface stuff. I wanted to experience everything that a life in Christ had to offer. I do my best to keep my “holy” jeans on every day, all of the time, and I fail so many times. But because of grace, I do not have to sit in my failure. I still get to worship God and live my life to bring Him glory. Isn’t that the most beautiful thing ever? No matter how many times we fail to live a holy life, God still loves us, and He can still use us. Thanks for reading, and as always I will close with a verse.
Romans 12:1 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.