Holiness is a concept I struggled with for most of my walk with God. I understood that holiness means being spiritually pure, but I had a hard time seeing myself as holy because … well, I’m not! I know where I have been, the things I have done, and the evil thoughts and motives I have had. So, you can imagine how impossible a verse like this seemed to me:
Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: ‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy’”. ~ Lev. 19:2
Um, not going to happen. I’m too sinful …. too selfish … too self-absorbed! And if I know I cannot do it, then why even bother trying?
I have had enough personal experience with God to know that nothing is impossible with Him. I also know that God is good, so He isn’t going to tell me to do something without equipping me to be able to do it … not on my own, of course, but as a joint venture with Him doing the heavy lifting. What he needs from me is obedience.
And then here’s where the topic of holiness really got confusing for me… I know that God is holy. I also know that Jesus is holy. I am painfully aware that I am not, but through Jesus, God sees me as holy. So, if Jesus’ sacrifice makes me holy before God, why should I strive for holiness since I know I’ll never achieve it and it’s not needed for me to live eternally with God? Paul did a good job of addressing this question in Romans 6, but I still had many questions. This series to share what I have learned thus far.
One of my biggest challenges was the hypocrites who do the right thing on the outside with the wrong heart on the inside. I have found that in many areas of my life, I was doing the right things for the wrong reasons, so what appeared as holy on the outside was rotten on the inside. As God has changed my heart, my motivation has changed, so while I might be doing the same things on the outside, what I experience on the inside is quite different.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace with a halo. Courtesy Bitmoji.]