With the rapidity of the recent sexual revolution, COVID-19, and our confusing and fast-paced culture, the question stands: What does living in holiness within this ever-changing culture look like? What does it look like to live for Jesus?
The answer: Whatever happens in our culture, Christians will only be of value to the extent that they pursue holiness. Holiness matters.
Modern-day American culture works against biblical morality. A Christian who desires to live a holy life inadvertently opposes the sinfulness of the culture. It’s inevitable
The term “holy life” does not mean a “perfect” behavior or existence. Holiness is measured by its pursuit, not by having “finally arrived.” Church leaders are certainly not exempt from sin (they are human), but as the church body, we tend to judge them with much higher bars than we are willing to judge ourselves. The greater awareness we have of our own walks with Christ, the less we will be tempted to judge others in their walks with Christ.
Self-denial plays a key role in the Christian life of holiness. The broader evangelical church has embraced a sugar-coated message that says, “To deny yourself is to deny who God created you to be.” This is false thinking based on worldly truths outside of a gospel context. Submission to the will of God is vital in the life of a Christian. God’s will is conforming to Christ, not for us to feed our fleshly desires (Romans 8:28-29). Say “no” to the flesh to say “yes” to the greater purpose of God.
In the Gospels, whenever someone encounters Jesus, that person changes. This is the essence of what it means to be a disciple – to be changed by Christ and to be made holy. The Gospels are geared toward not only giving us the facts of Jesus’s earthly life but toward an inward change in our hearts that accepts Christ as king. Only in Christ can we be holy as he is holy.
This is not a legalistic existence. Jesus shows that to follow him is to live an abundant life. An abundant life in Christ means to have an intimate relationship with God, the creator of the universe. The “best thing” does not entail having earthly desires met. The “best thing” is to be brought near in relationship to Jesus. God’s commands are not meant to deprive us of life but are meant to give us abundant life. If we follow his commands, they will lead us toward holiness without which no one will see God.
Recommendations for cultivating holiness:
- Join a community or small group that goes deep into God’s Word.
- Set aside personal time in God’s Word.
- Take advantage of the opportunities God places in your path.
- Be vulnerable with other mature Christians.
Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas, TX, holds a BA in Religion, and is a student at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is passionate about Scripture and how God’s Word impacts individuals’ hearts and lives.