Growing up as a pastor’s kid, there were a lot of church words I didn’t understand, and mentioning them would instantly cause my brain to zone out and daydream. They were those boring, stuffy words like, righteousness, justification, holiness and godliness. I knew they were good, but I figured that they were complicated issues that only people who studied theology cared about. I preferred to hear the exciting stories of miracles and wars in the Bible… if I wasn’t daydreaming.
Only much later did God reveal to me how mind-blowing these ideas really were. That those powerful concepts were interwoven in every story of miracles and conquests. If the idea of being holy conjures up images of chanting monks in a cold dark monastery, that’s exactly the boring picture the devil loves to project, so feel free to delete that image from your mind once and for all. Being righteous, holy and godly, makes us more alive, more joyful, and more in sync with the Creator of the universe, who also is the Savior of the world.
The word “holy,” means “set aside.” Set aside from the world’s corrupt logic, from the world’s lusts, from the world’s obsession with greed and selfishness. Being set aside means rising above the things of the world to a supernatural level, seeing the impossible before it happens and being linked to an invisible Kingdom. It means being so set aside, that we become weird to the world. We don’t fit into their way of thinking. When they get angry and depressed, we are joyful and peaceful. They indulge their flesh, while we deny ourselves and gladly sacrifice so we can please God and hear His voice. When they pray out of religiosity, nothing happens. When we pray, we join our spirit to a terrifying King with power far greater than a million nuclear bombs, yet feel at home like children with their loving Father. We become weird, unearthly, scary, and far too happy and confident for the standards of this world. Our lives make sense, but the world tries to ignore us, and we really don’t care what they think. All we want is to bring them out of their ignorance to know Him too. That’s being holy. That’s being righteous.
God is offering such a victorious life, but we’ll never find it if we don’t choose to be set aside first. For those who cling to the comforts and approval of this world, who worry about impressing religious folks, thinking they can fool God by straddling the line of holiness and worldliness – they’re all lumped together as unbelievers. It’s those who strive to be weird, who are disgusted by sin, who simultaneously live in self-denial and joy that get the privilege of bypassing hell. Be obedient, be holy, be righteous, be weird – and live!
Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. (1 Peter 1:13-16 HCSB)