Holiness is hard. It’s hard to think about and it’s hard to understand.
What would living a holy life look like?
It’s a question that the Christian can’t escape. You can’t flip through the pages of the old or new testament for more than 30 seconds without running into the idea that we were created to be holy – set apart – different.
But what does this look like, today?
What does it mean in our early morning hours, and ordinary days?
Here are 5 things I’m learning about holiness:
1. Holiness starts with healing.
You have been injured and wounded. You have lost things and people that mattered. You have unique wounds. Holiness, therefore, begins at the cross. Holiness begins where true innocence was killed, forsaken, and thought silly. It begins here. The one who calls us to be holy knows wounds. He knows pain. He knows injury and worry. Holiness starts by telling our beaten Jesus about our wounds and then listening for words of resurrection.
2. Holiness studies resurrection.
Holy things are not invincible things. Rather, holy things are those that marvel at the miracle of new things coming from seemingly dead things. In our ordinary mornings and ordinary afternoons we must study resurrection. We must look at the failings of the world and of our own heart and go to the empty tomb. To seek holiness is to remember that we live in a world where resurrection has happened.
3. Holiness is meek.
Meekness is not in style in our self esteem driven world. To be meek is assume that something outside of yourself is more valuable, more beautiful, and more worthy than any thing you can invoke on your own. Holiness demands we throw ourselves completely on another. Holiness is not for the self-reliant but for the one tired with self. Practically, we face situations everyday that ask us to either be proud or meek. We will look different. We may be called weak. You may be called a coward. But a coward restrains out of fear of another man – the meek are only afraid of their Father. Meekness ushers us into the holy.
4. Holiness is a practice and present.
These two are mysteriously interwoven. To be holy is to be of God and therefore a gift. You have been saved, redeemed, and ransomed. This is the present. To be holy is also a discipline of study and practice. You are tempted and tried and asked to be more worldly everyday. Here you find the need for the daily practice of eating words from the Father that knit you, listening to His voice, and interceding for others. This is the practice.
5. Holiness grows with others.
We are called to be set a part with others. Swimming up stream alone is deadly. You cannot do it alone and we are told as much in Scripture. Yet, our culture more and more presses on us to idolize the individual. Solitude is necessary but it cannot be our only practice. We need to experience laughter and grief and sorrow and joy with others seeking holiness. We need to be reminded and to remind others. We cannot grow alone.