HOLINESS IS MORE THAN JUST WORDS
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 1 Peter 1:13-15
There are several things in this world that is worth pursuing and the one that may matter the most is holiness. It is more than words and it is more than an action... Holiness is a lifestyle. We are seeking a way to come to the table just as we are, but through connecting with God we will leave transformed and seeking a life that will show others how to find the same JOY that we have encountered. We begin to see life in a whole new light. We look at people different... not as ones who we are trying to win over or stay away from, but the creation of God that the Holy Spirit desires to connect with on a personal level. In this life there is so much struggle, because we feel that if we step into this life of holiness that we will be judged or even ostracized. In reality, we will be drawn to the hearts that are broken and in need of healing. This is not something that we can heal, but it is an opportunity for us to carry a message to the heart of those that are lost and in need of discovering the ONE that created them and desires a relationship once again. Holiness is a way that we are set apart from this world. We struggle to step out of the old, sin filled life and step into one that allows us to truly find freedom that we have never experienced before.
So as we are almost to the end of the first month of the new year, how has your life been different? Did you find yourself moving back to the old habits that you have been caught in because it is easier, or have you stepped out on faith and declared to God your intentions to live a life that is different? Have you once again dug into the Word of God and sought answers because you have felt so disconnected with everything. School, work, sports, and just life has flipped upside down and inside out, and we are all trying to find a way to reconnect. Every day is a new opportunity to realize that God is still pursuing you and is asking you to pursue Him as well. God is asking you to get rid of the trash that continues to
keep you down and replace it with a grace and healing that is unconditional and waiting to renovate us from the inside out. We want to truly change the way that we are able to look at the world. From something we are just existing in, to seeing it as a mission field that is filled with opportunities to see the works of the Holy Spirit be revealed in a powerful way. As we pursue holiness, we are laying down everything in our lives and saying to God that none of this belongs to me anymore, but is all for you. Instead of running a race that is leading us farther and farther from God to a race that we run as fast as was can with open arms to receive the healing that we are all in so desperate need to find.
As we look once again at the letter Paul wrote to the Church that was scattered from Jerusalem all throughout Asia Minor, we are reminded that even when we are separated, God is still pursuing us. Regardless if we are right beside each other or thousands of miles apart, the Holiness that lives within us continues to cause us to desire connection and community. We are called to truly prepare for the time when Christ is to return. That may be in our lifetime or it may not, but we are to live with such a passion to reach as many people as we can with the Gospel. The ability that we have to pass on the legacy of Christ is immeasurable. Peter continues to remind them that we still live in this hope of what is to come so continue to encourage one another in the faith and hope that Christ taught us. We must be willing to step out of the patterns that are found in this world and recognize the opportunity that we have to break the mold that has been passed down from generation to generation. I am the first person on my mother or father's side to go to college and attain a degree. Not only did a attain one degree, but a second undergraduate, a masters and a doctorate. Why did I do this? Did I have something to prove? NO! I just had a desire to do all that I could to gain knowledge that could be used to help myself and others pursue holiness. I wanted to be the best at what I was called to be in this world and not just call it in or check a box. I wanted to know more and more about why it was so important to pursue holiness and I decided to break the mold of my family's past and create an opportunity for my children to have a desire to go even farther than me.
Peter ends todays scripture by saying, "Be Holy because I am Holy." We have seen the standard that has been set by the example of Christ, and I hope and pray that we are able to help others open their eyes and pursue a better life through Christ. We don't have to stay where we are because we were born into this pattern. God has given us the ability to change and stretch ourselves to not only pursue Him, but also to live with Him daily. As we discovered yesterday we have this LIVING HOPE that is not dead. It lives and breathes through the power of the Holy Spirit to help guide and direct us to discern the next steps in our faith journey. I know I say this all the time, but we continue to see it fully in the words that are written over and over again in the teachings found in the Bible. So why not reemphasize
the message. Maybe.... just maybe we will finally hear it and actually apply it to our pursuit to find peace and rest in God. Holiness is more than just words... it is an active lifestyle that we engage in every day as we grow more and more into the likeness of Christ. It is a passion and a desire to do all that we can each day to not only find out more about God for ourselves, but also to help walk with others that are in need to find holiness as well. We can be HOLY. We can live out this life as an example for Christ and press others to find even more inventive ways to share the Gospel than through a sermon, bible study or blog. Maybe we are able to encourage someone else to become the next Paul, John the Baptist, or even Billy Graham. Maybe we are capable to live out this example of holiness in such a way that it opens the eyes of someone that God has been trying to reach for a long time... someone with the ability to reach even more people with the Gospel of Christ. The message is simple... BE HOLY because we are to follow the example of Christ who was HOLY. It is not so easy to stand out, but if we are willing to stand up for Jesus, we will find that we are never alone.