“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, ‘Be ye holy; for I am holy,’” (1 Peter 1:15-16).
What "Be Holy" Means
What’s meant by “holy” in 1 Peter 1:15-16? The word translated “holy” means sacred, morally blameless, consecrated, saint (see Strong’s G40 for more). God is looking for some people who are consecrated or set apart for His use. And He knows who those holy ones should be because He chose us (Ephesians 1:4) and called us to be holy for His purpose (2 Timothy 1:9).
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4).
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 1:9).
The King James Version of 1 Peter 1:15 uses the word “conversation.” The word translated “conversation” means behavior. The verse is saying our manner of life or behavior, should reflect holiness because God is holy.
Christian women should stick out and stand out. Our lifestyles should be distinguishable from unbelievers and match our profession of faith. But it’s not easy, is it? In a day and age in which any and everything goes, Christian women are constantly facing temptations to live in a manner which isn’t pleasing to God. Although ungodly living is encouraged, embraced, and expected in the world today, God’s Word stands as a beacon of hope, life, and instruction to Christian women.
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Our Challenges to Living Holy
A Christian woman only needs to turn on the television to see programs encouraging adultery, fornication, abortion, lying, cheating, stealing, foul language, and drug and alcohol abuse. Add our access to the internet to the equation, and our eyes and ears are bombarded on every side by unholy activity.
We laugh along with sinful videos, sharing them so others can laugh along with us. Even many celebrities and clergy we follow on social media exemplify anything but holy lifestyles.
Instead of renouncing the hidden things of darkness (2 Corinthians 4:2), we are embracing and affirming them. We’re calling evil good, and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). It’s time for the church to be set apart, which is what God intended. It’s time for us to be holy because God is holy.
Just because the world says ungodly living is ok doesn’t mean the Lord says it’s ok. The Lord expects us to be holy because He is holy and abides in us.
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of one who walked in holiness. If we look at how He lived and exemplified holiness, we see a life committed to honoring God, showing love, honoring parents, serving others, and keeping the body holy.
Let's look at 6 ways we can "be holy" just as Jesus was holy and we are called to be.
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1. Honor God
If we want to be holy, we must honor and reverence God. Without reverence of the Father, we won’t be able to live holy. Christian women should have a reverential fear of God, submitting themselves to the Lord and desiring to please Him. If we want to walk holy, we must honor God by seeking His face in prayer and the study of His Word.
A relationship with the Father is imperative to those who want to be holy. Since we are His children and members of His family, we should resemble Him. We should take after Him. If we aren’t a part of His family – if we aren’t His children, we can’t live holy.
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2. Show Love
God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is the foundation upon which everything else is built. 1 Corinthians 13:1 teaches that without love, the work we do isn’t profitable for us. Thus, love is essential to holy living. The love that flows from Christians should be pure, without hypocrisy, a healing balm that soothes the tired, angry, depleted soul. Holy men and women should have forgiving hearts full of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance (Colossians 3:12-13).
Those who are holy and walk uprightly before the Lord, need to be on guard against harboring unforgiveness, anger, and resentment in their hearts. We should be quick to forgive and spread the love of Christ everywhere we go. If we’re going to be holy like He is holy, that means, we have to show love and forgive even when the recipient doesn’t deserve our love or forgiveness. Sometimes, we’ll have to love others first, even when we don’t feel like or want to love them (see 1 John 4:19).
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3. Honor Parents
Jesus Christ was the Word of God in flesh (John 1:14), and even He honored His parents continuing “in subjection to them” (Luke 2:51). Christians should honor their parents as much as possible, without following any immoral, illegal, or sinful behavior they may display.
- Honoring our parents means loving them and helping them as much as we can.
- Honoring our parents means witnessing to them about Jesus Christ and remembering that we wouldn’t be in the earth without our parents.
Loving our parents and forgiving them, despite their shortcomings and flaws, is an excellent way to be holy because God is holy.
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4. Serve Others
Matthew 5:16 tells us to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Being holy glorifies the father. Jesus Christ emulated the Father by serving others. And since Jesus served people, we must serve people as well.
- We can serve anyone by using our gifts, talents, and resources to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus, feed the hungry, and provide shelter to the homeless.
- We can serve fellow believers by edifying, exhorting, and comforting them (see 1 Corinthians 14:3) along their Christian journey.
- We serve the Lord by obeying His Word and glorifying Him in the earth.
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5. Abstain from Sin
Our bodies are God’s temples (1 Corinthians 6:19). We need to keep our temples holy because God’s Spirit abides in our temples. Christian women should dress modestly, as not to draw attention to self. We want to attract people to God, not to ourselves. Although the world tells us otherwise, Christians need to stand on the truth of God’s Word and keep ourselves from the lusts of the world.
Romans 12:1 teaches us to present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,” because doing so is our reasonable service.
The Bible also tells us to flee fornication and to “avoid fornication” (1 Corinthians 7:2). An interesting point about sin is the Bible tells us to avoid the very appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). So, not only are we to avoid sin, we’re called in holiness to avoid the appearance of evil.
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6. Marketplace Conduct
Those who desire to live holy will reflect that desire in their conduct everywhere they go (see 2 Peter 3:11). Therefore, being holy includes our conduct or behavior at the places we visit most frequently: stores and our jobs.
Christian women shouldn’t engage in worldly behavior in the workplace. We should respect our managers and co-workers. We should also show respect for those in the marketplace. We should not be seen in stores using rude or foul language with cashiers or other customers, nor engaging in sinful behavior (such as stealing). Christian women should remember that our lives are epistles being read by people around us every day (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
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Equipped for Being Holy
“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” (Ephesians 4:24).
Being holy isn’t natural, and it isn’t something we can do under our own strength. Walking in holiness requires the Holy Spirit received when we become “new creations.” When we accept the Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts, we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). Holiness is only possible when we are put on the new self and live life as the new creatures God ordained us to be. Although holiness isn’t natural to us, we are instructed in Scripture to follow or pursue holiness.
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Practicing Being Holy
We should look for opportunities to be holy. Being holy may mean:
- Not listening to the same music as our family and friends or watching the same television programs.
- Holiness may involve changing the way we dress, think, or respond to temptations.
- Most certainly, holiness means being set apart for the Master’s use.
Walking in true holiness means being like our Father.
Aretha Grant serves her local church as a bible teacher and elder. She loves writing and is the author of Overcomer: 25 Keys to Walking Victoriously. Aretha resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband and two youngest children. You can read Aretha’s blog at www.arethagrant.com.
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Originally published Thursday, 04 October 2018.