No pants (for women), no make-up, no earrings, no red fingernail polish, no secular music, no proms or school dances, this was how the old church preached holiness. And though many of us may think it’s crazy, they were actually on the right track. Maybe the extreme right, but the right track nonetheless. The question for generations has been, can I obtain holiness or is holiness given?
To answer this question, let’s go to 1 Peter 1:16 where it reads “For it is written, you shall be holy, for I am holy” (AMP). This scripture was actually in reference to Leviticus 11:44: “For I am the Lord your God; so consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy;” (AMP). In this passage of scripture, God was instructing the Israelites to make a distinction between themselves and other nations. He told them to “do” one thing, and to “be” another. He said #1, “do” this, consecrate yourselves. To consecrate means to declare one’s self dedicated to the service of something, in this case to God. This way, the nations around them wouldn’t have to guess who Israel served. Therefore, as followers of Christ, we also have to make a declaration to the world around us, our friends, family, co-workers, that we are dedicated to living for and in complete submission to God.
#2. He told them to “be” holy. This wasn’t an instruction of certain behavior, but this was an impartation from God to the children of Israel. For the Bible says in John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickened; the flesh profited nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Therefore, God, in Leviticus 11:44, when He said “be holy, for I am holy”, since His words are spirit, was actually imparting His Holy Spirit into them! See, holy means to be distinct in character or nature. And we know that the Holy Spirit is the invisible nature of God that teaches us (John 14:26), awakens us to the truth (John 15:26), guides us (John 16:13), prays for us (Romans 8:26-27) and commands us (Acts 13:2). We can therefore conclude that holiness is a lifestyle of conscious consecration to God and the acceptance of the gift of the Holy Spirit that results in certain behaviors and benefits that clearly separate us from the world. Need more proof? 1 Peter 1:14-15 (AMP) says “[Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel]. But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.”
I can hear someone saying now, so if the Holy Spirit is a gift, why are you saying “The Pursuit of Holiness”? The answer to that is, along with accepting that Holy Spirit, we have to decide, everyday, to consecrate our lives to the Lord. You know yourself that on Sunday you can be slain in the spirit, promising God that you will live for Him and witness to your unsaved family members and stand for Him on the job but come Wednesday you may feel like jumping in a juicy gossip conversation in the break room at work. It is then, at that moment that you have to pursue holiness, choose to be separate and stand apart for the glory of God.
So, find those areas in your life that you choose to compromise instead of pursue holiness. Don’t worry, we all have them. Your choice of music, conversation, television shows, clothes, etc. Dedicate them to the Lord, ask for a refilling of the Holy Spirit and declare through your action and with the help of the Holy Spirit that you live for God. Be Encouraged!