“If practice makes perfect, and nobody’s perfect, why practice?”
I used to cackle at this quote. Pretty witty, right? And not a bad argument for skipping soccer tryouts and band meet-ups when you’re just not feeling it! But I think a lot of times the same attitude winnows its way into our spiritual lives; like if Jesus died for our sins already, why not indulge a little? Or if we’re never going to be perfect or truly holy in this broken world, why strive so hard and deny the things our human nature craves?
It’s a question worth asking, right? What’s the point of being holy in this life if we can’t do it perfectly?
The thing is, we want so much out of this life that’s already incomplete. This world, our bodies, even our experience of God is all just a shadow compared to what we were designed for, the reality He’s drawing us back toward. But holy, upright living in this life lets us catch a clearer glimpse of eternity, the life God always intended and desired for His children. It opens doors to experience God’s majesty in ways we will never know if we’re solely indulging in the so-called pleasures of this life; and to not pursue that holiness because it won’t be perfect is like saying we’ll never have a bite of cheesecake because we’re not going to eat the whole thing.
Holiness is important because it allows us to draw near to God in the dark age, and Him to us. If we are living in unholiness, it becomes so much harder to see God in this life; He is purely holy, after all, and our darkness can totally veil His light from our sight. We blind ourselves to seeing His goodness when we’re wallowing in our sin.
Yes, we will still make mistakes when we strive for holy living. No, we won’t do it totally right. But we will do better, and we will see Him clearer. And anything that allows us to draw nearer to God is a sacrifice worth making, a risk worth taking, and a goal worth striving toward.
What is Holiness?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines holiness as “the quality or state of being holy; exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness; devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity.”
In many ways, the subject of holiness or being holy has been hijacked thanks to the combined actions of the pious over the centuries and the reactions of those judging them for their behavior. As a result, holiness has come to have almost a negative public connotation, as if one should avoid holy behavior or holy thinking or else risk offending others by seeming like they’re better than them; for example, a “holier-than-thou” attitude.
However, at its core, holiness is about seeing as God sees and valuing as He values. It’s about putting His opinion before our own or anyone else’s and adjusting our lives to walk in His will, no matter how it comes across to others.
At its core, true holiness is relational and strives to mirror itself to the nature of God.
What Does the Bible Say About Holiness?
Hebrews 12:14 – Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
1 Peter 1:15-16 – But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Thessalonians 4:7 – For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.
How Can I Become More Holy?
Holiness is the very nature of God; that’s why Scripture calls Him the Holy Spirit, because He is Holy and He is Spirit! Holiness involves loving what God loves, hating what He hates, loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and making every attempt to war against the sin nature within us to please Him in our word, thought, and deed.
We cannot become truly holy without conforming to the image, thoughts, and patterns of God rather than of the world. That’s why a “holier-than-thou” attitude is not true holiness, but an imitation constructed to make man feel better about himself.
In order to become holier—to even start on the path of holiness!—we need to take time to learn and deeply understand the things that matter to God and why they are important. Not only do we want to obey His commandments, but we want to dig deep into comprehending why He made them, so that our mindset as well as our conduct is steeped in the same holiness as our Maker.
If you desire to be holy, desire God’s heart; if you seek holiness, seek His will, corporately and personally. Just as Jesus told the rich young ruler to abide by God’s laws, so we need to abide by His instructions and write them on the tablet of our heart, so that we don’t sin against Him.
And that is how we will truly become holy.
Is there any area of your life where you’re finding yourself “satisfied” with trying for less than holiness? Take time to surrender that area to God and ask Him to help you see it through HIS eyes!