Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14 ESV)
We all have a difficult time defining and describing the concept of holiness. Our immediate thought process takes us to the opposite side. You cannot help but to think about sin as you consider the meaning of holiness. In most cases, you are brought to the thought of how high the bar has been set. We figure that holiness is reserved for special characters of the Bible like the Apostles, who even at their weakest moments, were holy people who followed Christ unto death. But when it comes to describing our own holiness, we usually have a hard time with the concept.
Sometimes our inner thoughts tell us that we will always be far from achieving holiness because we live in such a sinful world. Every day we are challenged by a world that is filled with immorality and injustice. Daily news plays a constant stream of tragic moments and senseless crime. We see and hear about the plight of millions of people dealing with hunger and poverty. Television is filled with sensual images and messages meant to appeal to our bodies and lure us in, all the while corrupting our moral standards.
Additionally, models of integrity are becoming harder and harder to find. Even those that appear spiritual, frequently disappoint us when details of their personal life come to light. We know that no one is perfect, however spiritual leaders should be expected to conduct their lives with modesty and honesty. Holiness is a difficult concept even for us who have turned their lives to our Lord Jesus Christ. Every day we must find ourselves fighting the good fight, picking up our own cross, and facing the reality of a sinful world with its countless distractions.
Nevertheless, the more time we spend connected to scripture, the easier holiness becomes to understand and apply. Holiness is mainly about the God we serve and what is expected of us from Him. It is defined as being set apart as a vessel to serve Him. The key is knowing that we cannot fulfill the expectations of holiness without the Holy Spirit’s help and intervention. We are holy by the merits of Jesus Christ, who made us holy by His sacrifice for us on the cross.
To pursue holiness, scripture must have authority and be applied in our lives. Through scripture we learn what the Lord says about the daily struggles we face and how to respond. Indeed, holiness is not easy. We have an adversary, the world, and our own flesh ready to draw us away from obedience to our Holy Father. We must depend on the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to sustain us. Ask God to help you in your weakest moments, resist the devil, the world, and desires of the flesh.
By Pastor Jorge Cardenas