Holiness is drawing closer to God. That’s the desire of every believer, isn’t it? The Psalmist yearned for that as he prayed, “Who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” (Psalm 15:2). He summarizes the answer with two words: those who are ‘blameless’ and ‘righteous.’ A person who desires to live holy seeks to be both of those in every part of their lives. Interestingly, the New American Standard translates “blameless” as integrity, which means wholeness, undivided. Holiness permeates everything we are and do.
But what does this look like in our daily lives? Take some time and read Psalm 15:1-5 (See sidebar). Here in this Psalm, the writer goes on and describes nine “outward” qualities of a person living a holy life:
- Holiness is honest. (v 2) God is truth. Lies are the language of Satan. The psalmist says that truth comes from within us. By telling the truth, we build trust and safety in our relationship with God and others.
- Holiness avoids slander. (v 3) Slander is another form of dishonesty. It is telling a destructive lie about another person. The heart of holiness is love, never retaliation.
- Holiness is a good neighbor. (v 3) Being “blameless and doing righteous” is as practical as being nice to live beside!
- Holiness protects the reputations of others. (v 3) We should always look for ways to build up others. Whether it is using our position for the benefit of others or simply putting a stop to gossip, we can be intentional about protecting others.
- Holiness hates evil. (v 4) Someone pointed out that we live in a culture that is proud of what they should be ashamed of and ashamed of what they should be proud of. As followers of Jesus, our lives should look different than the confused culture around us.
- Holiness shows honor to believers. (v 4) To honor those who fear God means that we will respect and love one another. There are plenty of causes for which we can fight–the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the trafficked, the widow and orphan–let’s pull together to serve them well instead of tearing one another down. Political infighting within the community of faith is unbecoming and distracts from the message of Jesus.
- Holiness keeps its promises. (v 4) When we have integrity, we follow through with what we say. If we are untrustworthy in the every-day matters, how can we be trusted in eternal matters?
- Holiness doesn’t take advantage of others. (v 5) Whether it’s with money or influence, we should always be generous and fair.
- Holiness refuses to be unduly influenced. (v 5) It’s too easy to compromise. To take a shortcut for our own success. If we are holy, we will never take advantage of others.
Susanna Wesley, the mother of John Wesley defined sin this way, “ Take this rule: Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself.”
BEFORE YOU GO
Without the Holy Spirit filling our lives, none of us can be holy. It is only as we consecrate our lives that God can change our lives. So, take a moment and ask yourself if these qualities would accurately describe your character. If not, in what area does God’s Spirit need to work in and through your life?