What is a holy life and how can one live it? Is it possible for one to live a holy life and will this life look like in his family or at his workplace? Let’s explore what the Bible says about it.
Living a holy life is a standard set before Christians. God commanded them to live a holy life and obey God in all the ways they choose. However, this standard is so high that we barely ever see people who can live up to it.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Nevertheless, the truth remains: God calls us to be holy. How can we do that? Before we proceed to practical ways of living such a life, let’s define what holiness really is.
What is holiness?
When thinking of holiness and God’s command about striving to be holy, people often feel hopeless, as they realize that they have no power to do so. Thus, they end up being discouraged and depressed because of the sins they see in their lives which they cannot overcome. However, sometimes they feel this way because they forget several important facts. And here they are.
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Holiness is not righteousness
People confuse these two notions and end up feeling hopeless. However, here are two facts you should know:
- Righteousness is a gift God gives everyone He calls His children (we will explain this a bit later). You cannot be righteous on your own. You need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for you and took your punishment for all your sins. You only become saved by Him, when you accept His sacrifice and ask Him for forgiveness for all the wrong you have done against Him.
- Holiness is every Christian’s responsibility. God calls us to be holy many times but never calls us to be righteous. The fact that He calls us to be holy means that He knows we can live such a life. The only problem here is that we need His help in our pursuit of holiness.
The secret of holy living
The key to living a holy life is in being a part of a “holy life circle.” The thing about is that you start living a holy life because you want to please God, but then you also come to God asking Him to give us the strength to live such a life.
Here is a verse about this in the Bible:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
And one more:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)
Thus, this is an essential life cycle of holy life: you need to live a holy life for God because living according to His commandments is loving Him. But you also need His help, as, without it, you won’t be able to keep up with His high standards.
Now, let’s see practical ways of living a holy life in a family and elsewhere on a daily basis and then see a life of one holy prophet from the Bible who lived according to everything mentioned below.
Living a holy life daily
- First and foremost, you should obey God in everything He says. Obedience is a key to being holy. Since God is the only One who is absolutely holy at all times and also the author of the notion of holiness, He is the only one who knows what it means to be holy. So obeying Him is everything is a key!
“Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:23)
“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.” (Deuteronomy 28:1)
- Being grateful is another important fact about living such a life. When we thank God for all the good gifts He gives us daily, we remind our hearts, that we do not deserve anything good. He is only giving something to us because He is loving and merciful. The last thought leads us to living with a clear understanding that God is in control, so I have nothing worry about: He will give me the strength to live a holy life.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
- Focus on heavenly things and flee the worldly passions. By realizing that where we live now is not our home forever and that soon we will Jesus changes our attitude to life. We start living with the heavenly perspective in mind and thus find strength in the upcoming day when we meet Jesus Christ and all the struggles with sin will stay behind us.
“Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2)
- Read the Bible to be fed with truth whenever you feel spiritually hungry. All people are created to be spiritual personalities. However, we might sometimes worship sinful creations instead of God. So, to avoid idols and sin, we need to concentrate on God and His words. All in all, read the Bible and apply it daily.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
- Praying is like talking to God. Even the relationships with men need communication. So, if you want to have the close and loving relationship with God you need to spend time with Him, just the two of you. Since He is always near with His children, you can talk to Him anytime and anywhere.
“And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:15)
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)
Now, let’s see how a famous prophet from the Bible lived a holy life.
Life of a holy prophet from the Bible
Life of Hosea can illustrate all of the principles of holy life in the Bible. Let’s go through his life step be the step to see it all.
He was obedient.
When told Hosea, a holy prophet, to marry a prostitute, we are sure he had a lot of questions to God. However, despite all of them, he did what God told Him to do. Moreover, He did it twice: after his wife ran away and started living the sinful life, he was told by God to find her, pay the price for her and marry her once again. All of this was done to illustrate God’s goodness to His people who can be unfaithful at times, but He keeps on loving them no matter what.
He never repined against God.
Even when God chose unusual paths for him to go, he chose to be grateful, and trust Him as He is the God who loves him. On top of that, Hosea left us an example of a life of the holy prophet who never said anything bad about God even though his circumstances were far more complicated than most of us go through. So, he was grateful.
Hosea was willing to be a part of God’s picture where He illustrated his never-ending love for His people. He knew that earthly pleasures are only for a moment, while God’s presence will be later for Him forever. He did not try to take the most out of his earthly life and live as comfortably as possible but focused on living a life God wanted him to.
He was in contact with God.
The fact that God talked to him on a regular basis and gave him exact directions means that He had a relationship with God. Hosea knew the Scriptures which shows us that he read the words of God and he was talking with God.
Such a bright illustration of holy life might help us better understand what God wants from us when He calls us to live a holy life; He wants us to be happy and avoid all the possible consequences of sin. We can only live such life having Him as the source of our strength, so let’s pray and seek His assistance when pursuing holiness and purity in our daily lives.
Here are just a couple more Bible quotes to inspire you on this way.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.” (1 Peter 1:13-25)
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-18)