But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy (1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV).
The concept of holiness may seem archaic. After all, it conjures up ideas of a Puritan lifestyle which long ago became outdated. Negative connotations of a strict, hypocritical existence have become associated with holiness; however, the pages of Scripture encourage us believers to demonstrate holiness. Why the disconnect in perception and practice? I believe we have forgotten that being holy means we are “set apart” or “different.” It does not mean we have forsaken liberty but that we have understood genuine freedom to live for Christ. We are different because God is different, and through this distinction, we find joy. Too many of us focus on happiness without focusing on holiness. And yet, we believers will never be happy until we first become holy. In all we do, we must commit ourselves to be different!
For example, we should have different thoughts. Now understand me. I am not trying to pull out the latest psychobabble here to affect your thought life. Instead, I’m pointing you to God’s counsel: “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance”(1 Peter 1:13-14 NIV). Don’t think like you did think. Don’t allow the world to squeeze you into its mold. Think differently. Demonstrate self-control. Think continually about hope.
In addition, we ought to embrace different actions. Not only do we think differently, but we act differently. We live our lives as “strangers here in reverent fear” (1 Peter 1:17b NIV). We act as authentic believers in every venue: at work, at school, or at home. When we commit ourselves to holiness, our actions stand out from the worldly crowd. People can take note of the difference, but more importantly, God observes our “set apartness.”
Finally, we should nurture different motives. We reject the world’s reasoning, and we are moved by right intentions. There is no place for allowing jealousy or envy to drive our actions; instead, love spurs us on in our journey. Peter declared, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply from the heart” (1 Peter1:22 NIV). When I perform a good deed, it should be driven by compassion, not by the need for worldly recognition or advancement.
Whether it is our thoughts, or actions, or our motives, the message is the same—be different! When we totally surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord, He dramatically transforms who we are. We are no longer the same. We are set apart for His purposes. My friends, listen to our Lord as He once again challenges us to be His people: “Be holy, because I am holy!”