A Holy Life

praiseI was singing a worship song recently that contained a line that was a request for a “holy life.” The line grabbed my attention and I began to consider thoughtfully what I was asking God for. What does it really mean to be holy.

The first thought that comes to most of us when we think about being holy is something along the lines of moral uprightness. We might begin to make a list of of all the rules that we should be keeping. And then we experience a wave of guilt because we immediately recognize how often we fall short of the standard we have set for ourselves (or allowed others to set for us).

Is that what God wants for us, to live in a constant state of self-loathing? I don’t think so.

As I was contemplating this the thought occurred to me that one of the reasons the church has lost a significant part of it’s effectiveness is that we have lost focus. Let me explain. We spend all of our time trying to make ourselves right before God when; we can’t because we don’t have the ability or means to do so, and it has already been done for us by Jesus! (Galatians 2:21) So here’s the problem. We focus all of our attention on and expend all of our energy trying to do something we were never asked to do, and in fact can never accomplish and in doing so we neglect what we were told to do which is to proclaim the Good News and do good.

What an ingenious plan on the part of the enemy: getting us to spin our wheels trying to do what has already been done and that we can’t accomplish anyway while we neglect the responsibility that has been given to us!

But, you ask, “doesn’t being holy mean that follow some code or set of rules?” The word holy means-“to be separate,” or more specifically “to separate to something.” The concept conveys the idea of “dedicated things.” When the Bible speaks of holiness it is reminding us that we should be dedicated to the purposes of God. That means that we accept the free gift of salvation and then bring ourselves under the authority of God’s precepts fulfilling the responsibilities that have been given to us.

With that in mind, are you living a holy life?


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