“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
Holiness is not a choice, but a command. From the very beginning, God’s command has never changed. God says in the verse above, “…ye shall therefore be holy…” This was not a suggestion for Israel to be holy, but this was a command from God to be holy. In other words, not to live a holy life is to live a rebellious and disobedient life.
The word “holy” means to be set apart. In other words, when God commands the believer to be holy, he is saying that you are to set yourself apart for Him. To make this word easy to understand, to be holy means to draw closer to God. Notice that God says, “…ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” In other words, living a holy life is simply setting yourself apart from others so that you can be closer to God. When you see holiness through this viewpoint, you won’t see it as a drudgery, but a privilege that God would even want you to live closer to Him. There are three benefits to living a holy life that I would like you to see.
First, holiness is a model to follow. You will notice that God commands you to be holy because He is holy. In other words, God is saying that He is giving you an example by which to live. What better example to follow than to be like God? Living a holy life makes you a better leader, for God is the greatest leader. Living a holy life makes you a better person, for God is the supreme model for being good. Living a holy life makes you a better person in every relationship because if you follow God’s model, you will be in the relationship what you are supposed to be. You are following God’s footsteps on what to do in every aspect of your life by living a holy life.
Second, holiness is an identity. When you start following God’s example on how to live, you are identifying with Him. In order to live a holy life, you are telling everyone that you are leaving the world’s philosophies and manner of living to be like Christ. Why anyone would think that living a holy life would be such a drudgery when you are simply identifying yourself with God is beyond my imagination. When you choose to live a holy life, you are simply saying that you want to be identified with God.
Third, holiness is a relationship. To be holy means that you are leaving one relationship to have a relationship with another. Living a holy life means you are leaving your relationship with the world to have a closer relationship with God. Always remember that the holier you live, the closer you get to God. Living a holy life to the degree that God wants you to live is simply saying that you have chosen to make God your best friend.
There are two lessons you can learn from living a holy life. First, you reveal to God how much you love Him by how holy you are willing to live. Your heart is exposed by your willingness to be holy. You can say you love God, but that is mere words if you are not willing to live a holy life. You show me how holy you are willing to be, and I will be able to show you how warm your heart is towards God.
Second, if you focus on the God to whom you are going drawing closer to more than on the world from which you are setting yourself apart from, holiness would be a joy to live. Holiness is certainly living an obedient life, but it is more of you showing your heart’s desire to be closer to God.