God calls each of us to be holy. God says: “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” Leviticus 19:2 But what does it mean to be holy?
Holiness is the central attribute of God. It is His divine perfection, absolute purity and righteousness.
To be holy is to be ‘consecrated’ or ‘dedicated’ to God, ‘set apart’ for His divine purpose.
In our churches we have ‘holy vessels’ dedicated exclusively to God. If a holy chalice were to be used for a sinful purpose, (e.g., drunkenness) then that chalice would no longer be considered a holy vessel for it would be defiled. To return to its holy state the chalice would need to be emptied and cleaned and reconsecrated to God.
In a similar way, we God’s people must separate ourselves from all that is unholy and contrary to God’s Will in order to live holy lives. When we are defiled by sin we must see ourselves as the chalice that is no longer empty and pure. We must humble ourselves before God calling upon the divine assistance and forgiveness of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Holiness begins with deep humility. We cannot become holy on our own. Holiness is the work of God on a soul that is contrite and surrendered to God for His good purposes.
I like to picture humility as the chalice that is empty and clean. As we acknowledge our sins, we acknowledge all the ‘evil actions’ that have filled up the chalice with the filth of sin. When we confess our sins and ask for the forgiveness of Jesus we ask Jesus through the power of His Holy Blood to purify us. A humble person acknowledges that without God they cannot do anything.
Let us stand before God as an empty vessel hoping for and waiting for His Holy Spirit to fill us with His divine love and power. There is no room for God if our lives are full of sinful pursuits, but if we renounce sin and seek God’s forgiveness we can become empty and clean ready for God’s divine blessing. Once blessed we become the cup of blessing for the world.
Holiness is a communion with God such that we strive to embrace His Holy Will in all that we do. Holiness is a path of righteousness where we hold the hand of Jesus and strive to walk as He walked, blameless before God and man.
“May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.” 1 Thessalonians 3:13
Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:14
Holiness requires obedience to the commandments of God. Loving God and loving our neighbours is the focus of holy people. Holy people never forget to thank God for His many blessings, acknowledging His infinite goodness for every blessing.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
The devil will always try to tempt us to pursue ‘unholy paths’ that will offend God, but if we want to be disciples of Jesus we must stay close to Our Lord trusting in His love to strengthen us and keep us on a path that gives God glory.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
The type of denial that Jesus is speaking of can be misunderstood. Remember holiness is to be ‘set apart’ or ‘consecrated’ to God. Denial is about separating us from the people and experiences that are contrary to God’s Holy Will. God wants us to avoid experiences that may lead to sexual immorality, drunkenness, greed, lust etc.
At Christmas many people go into financial debt to try to make their loved ones smile. This is an example of how society has lost the true meaning of Christmas. The lust of the eyes can lead to greed and various forms of immorality, but the holy love of Jesus will lead us to performing humble works of charity.
Jesus said, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
Lust is born of the devil, but love is born of God.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5
Every Christian is called to be holy, set apart for the Glory of God.
The question is will we accept this holy calling and strive to live in a perpetual communion with Our Lord Jesus?
Jesus does not want a casual relationship with us. Jesus wants an intimate relationship with us.
Jesus wants us to know that we are always in His Holy presence. When we really embrace this truth that God is always with us notice what happens. We begin to speak differently. We choose our words more carefully. We become more patient and more generous and more merciful, for Jesus is all those things, patient, generous, merciful.
Prayer keeps us ever connected to Our Lord Jesus and if we dedicate our lives to God for His glory then our whole life can become a ‘living prayer’. We must pray not just with words, but also with good deeds that please God. We must ask for God’s forgiveness for our sinfulness and we must also offer that forgiveness to others too. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7
Success in God’s holy eyes does not always look like what we might expect. Society seems to value ‘being busy and productive’ and ‘being always connected’. I rarely see my daughter without her mobile phone in her hand. It almost looks like that phone grows right out of her wrist.
Consider for a moment that true success in God’s holy eyes requires that at times we stop being busy and that we disconnect from everything other than Him?
God says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Silence is the medium for hearing God’s holy voice in our hearts, but to receive this divine indulgence we need to deny ourselves the ‘always-on connectedness’ of our mobile phones, computers, music players etc.
My prayer for you this Christmas is that you create some truly special quiet time with Jesus to reflect on your true identity and progress as a disciple. Reflect on God’s Holy Word as spoken in the Bible and hear God speaking to your heart.
Please honour Our Holy Lord by joining the peace movement, A Peaceful Revolution in the Name of Jesus Christ. This is a movement that is uniting disciples of Jesus in a daily prayer in remembrance of the Passion of Christ. It is a sacred moment where we thank Jesus for His infinite love and sacrifice. We stop at the Time Jesus died for us, 3pm (in our local time zones) to remember how much Jesus suffered to give us the gift of salvation. At this time we pray for peace in our hearts and in our world. We pray for the Holy Spirit of Jesus to be poured out to save all souls and help us to embrace His Holiness. Learn more about this historic movement to unite the Body of Christ here.