We are called to be holy even as Jesus is holy. The call is to a lifestyle of holiness. But, what does it look like to live holy lives? Our culture is hungry and thirsty for a lifestyle of holiness to be modelled. One that stands out from the corruption of a crooked and depraved generation. At the centre of holiness is a difference that attracts – it is relevant but chooses to act differently; engages with our culture but offers an alternative way. Holiness is attractive and contagious. Please have confidence that people are looking for the light you carry and are wanting you to shine. Those who have tried the ‘fixes’ of our day and are bored, disappointed, weary and disillusioned. They are wanting you to be different, shining and holding out hope of a life lived differently - on purpose and with meaning. So how do we practise holiness? Three thoughts from this passage.
First, holiness is what you’re made for. If you follow Jesus, then you shine like a star in the universe. It’s inevitable. But, here’s some science: Stars are fuelled by the nuclear fusion of hydrogen to form helium deep in their interiors. The outflow of energy from the central regions of the star provides the pressure necessary to keep the star from collapsing under its own weight, and the energy by which it shines. Stars stay alive by shining and so do you.
Second, holiness is to look like Jesus. If you have trouble imagining holiness then look at the lifestyle and character of Him and let your attitude be shaped accordingly. In humility prefer others; be wise about your own needs but not at the expense of others; don’t be consumed with your own interests, ambition and life; don’t raise yourself up on a pedestal; don’t be so self-opinionated and think that you’re so right all the time. In a culture that resounds to the tune of ‘#me’, live for others. Jesus steps down from being King; more than that, he becomes a servant; more than that, he becomes a sacrifice. Your attitude should be the same as His.
Third, to be holy is to encourage. Holiness speaks others up. Holiness points to the greatness of others. Holiness seeks to bring people together. Notice how Paul does this with both Timothy and Epaphroditus.
So, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is a holy God who is at work in you. His desire is for his will to be fulfilled in your life and he has good purposes to be worked out in you. Praise be to His name.
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One day you’ll be face to face with Jesus. Is there anything in your life, hidden or open, that you would rather him not see? Probably best to deal with it now!