Thursday, February 11, 2010

What it Means to Be Holy

What it Means to Be Holy
Jan 11, 2010
1 Peter 1:15-16 "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."

If you're like me, you experience a bit of stress at the directive in the Bible that requires us to be holy. I mean, come on, we're sinners here, not angels. How can we, who are dirty, filthy rags (I know what's in my heart, I can only imagine what's in yours) be holy? This seems impossible, an elusive task. How can the Bible ask me, no, tell me to be holy. Doesn't God know that we are the fallen ones, that we need to be saved? Just sign me up for failure again. Great, something else that I cannot live up to, someone else I can let down. I can't pull myself up by my bootstraps; simply telling me to be holy doesn't really mean it can happen. At least give me the formula, a simple step-by-step plan I can follow to get myself there.

If you're as frustrated as I am about being told to be holy, thinking it is only for the elite saints of this world, those few who are paid to be in church 24/7, then you have the wrong idea of what it means to be holy. Being holy doesn't mean you have to be perfect. Being holy doesn't mean you can't have sinned once or twice, or even three million times, before. Being holy doesn't mean you have to go around with your elbows in the air, singing hymns all day. Being holy is a class distinction, not something that can be conquered or succeeded at in life like a triathlon. To understand the phrase, "be holy, as I am holy," you have to understand the actual definition of the word. The word "holy," in the Bible, does not mean perfect, spotless, or without sin; it means to be set apart. The word holy means to be set apart for something special, for a special purpose.

If you were to replace the words in the scripture, instead of using "holy," use "set apart." Here's how it would read. (this is not misquoting scripture, and I'm not adding to the Bible, here, just explaining) It could read: "But just as he who called you is set apart, be set apart in all you do, for it is written: be set apart because I am set apart." This completely changes the impact of this scripture on our lives. This isn't saying, be a god because I am God, it is asking us, no telling us, to be different, to be set apart in all that we do, to be a peculiar people, to be the light of this world. It is telling us to be mission-minded in all of our activities, thinking of the Lord's purposes in everything, and not what we want to do. It is figuring out what would benefit God in all circumstances and in all things through my actions. This is much better and much easier than trying to be a statue of perfection in everyone's eyes, especially God's.

God wants us to be willing to set ourselves apart for Him for His use in the world. That's what it means to be holy. He wants us to be different than the rest, willing to go against the norm every once in a while, not look like everyone else. He wants us to be willing to be used by Him, should the moment arise, for a purpose far greater than ourselves. He wants us to be, well, His. If you're in this world and you embrace every piece of its culture, straight down to the inner fiber, then you are no different than anyone else, the same as every single sinner out there. You aren't set apart if you do what everyone else does and look how everyone else looks. He wants you to be different, not of this world, but in it. He wants people to be able to tell that you are His. If someone can't look at you and in five minutes, tell that you're a Christian by your actions and words, then you are not holy. Be set apart from this world, being holy will look good on you; I promise.

1. What is your definition of being holy?
2. How can you be set apart in all you do?
3. How can people see that you're different from everyone else?

When reading these scriptures below, in your mind, replace the word "holy" with the words "set apart for a purpose;" it could change everything for you.
Add. Scriptures for Study: Ex 40:9, Lev 19:2, Lev 27:30, Deut 5:12, Deut 26:19, Is 5:16, Rom 12:1, 2 Tim 2:21, 2 Peter 3:11

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