In our last post on A Matter of Holiness, we took a look at why we should be holy. Today, we’ll begin to take a look on how to be holy.
How To Be Holy
I mentioned that God has given a command to be holy. God doesn’t give commands without giving the means to fulfill that command. So if God commands His people to be holy, then there is definitely a way for us to be holy. Now, this is assuming that you are a true Christian.
There are five basic aspects of being holy: desire, priority, submission, God’s word, prayer, obedience.
The first step in holiness comes with desire. We must have a desire to be holy. We must have a heart like David in Psalm 51:1-2.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
We must have a desire to want to be like God and with God. We must see God as lovely, worthy to be adorned and idolized. We must learn to see sin as sin and hate it as God hates it. We must want to see sin excised from our lives as much as possible. We must be willing to be radical and called names, and ostracized, and vilified for the sake of the beautiful holiness of God. We must desire to change.
I believe the reason why many of us don’t want to change and become more holy is because we are comfortable with where we are. Comfortable with the world. Comfortable in our relationship with Christ. Comfortable with mediocrity. We don’t want to change more because if we do, we may have to give up something that we really desire. We don’t trust God. We still secretly look at Him as this figure who just wants to steal our joy instead of fulfill it. We cling to our petty wants and dreams never evaluating them under the microscope of God’s desire for us. We don’t ask, “Lord, is this what you want?” because if we do, we may find that He doesn’t and that’s not what we want to hear so we ignore Him and rationalize it in our hearts.
When we lack the desire for holiness, we lack the desire for God. This is crucial so if this is something that you lack, it is time to fall down and ask God to plant the desire there.
Second, we must make holiness a priority. It must come before everything else in our lives in order to be a part of everything else in our lives. We must make the decision to be holy. We must be disciplined.
Stephen Deness explains in his book The Way of Holiness:
Next to the fact that Jesus was God, the single most significant source of His power and purity was, as Luke observed, that Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” It is no different for us. Try as we will, we simply cannot have the meat of our faith at the drive-thru window. It is discipline and hard work, which require much more than just sitting there with a smile on our faces thinking about God.
Life-changing holiness doesn’t come by two minute prayers and five minute devotionals. They may start there but they certainly don’t end there. It comes from pressing into it in everything we do.
To give an idea on just how important holiness is, I want to focus a moment on the emphasis that God places on it in our next installment. I believe that then we can get a clear picture of how important it should be to us.