(Phot by Selma Komisky)
The Call To Holiness
“For God did not call us to be unpure, but to live a holy life.”
– 1 Thessalonians 4:7 (NIV)
By Zelda Dominguez
Upon waking up my first thought was Oh _____, another day! I was depressed, my relationship had not gone as I expected, I couldn’t work because I injured myself and I had an array of health problems. My personal life seemed like it was going nowhere, with nothing to look forward to, and the outside world seemed to have its own problems.
Life can seem gloomy, especially in today’s world. Life takes many turns we do not expect. It even feels unfair at times. We also help things along with consciously making detours despite knowing it leads to a dead end.
I, at that time, though I communicated with God by going to church and following most of the rules of the church. I even gauged my own standard as to how far I could go to bend them with a clear conscious. I’d justified in my own reasoning how I was still adhering to what I was taught about God’s commands and church obligations. I would categorize sin into size, or degree of severity. In my mind, I was ok, yet so tired of jumping thru all the hoops and going nowhere.
I know now it was religion, not a relationship with God. What does that mean? It means it was based on my successes or defeats according to rules. It was more self-centered, instead of God-centered. I didn’t take responsibility for my sin and didn’t know Jesus was a God of mercy and grace. Nor how much he loved me, died for me, so I could be forgiven and have eternal life.
Religiosity is what it was. Like the Pharisee in the bible. In the Greek language, Pharisees were called “play actors,” or “hypocrites, by Jesus. Why? Because they were merely playing church (make-believe) instead of actually being a church. They had a self-righteous attitude and finally, the Pharisees tossed aside God’s law and substituted their own tradition. I too thought as long as I went to church, and checked off rules I was good. But I wasn’t looking clearly at my life, or heart, because in reality that’s all God wanted.
I Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord doesn’t look at the things people look at, people look at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.”
I didn’t know Jesus desired a relationship with me offering his free gift of grace. He loved me just as I was and I didn’t have to try to earn his love. I didn’t know I needed salvation and my state of being, was all due to the void I had in my life that only Jesus could fill.
We can all get a little like this in our thinking of Christianity, holiness/ purity. We may see it as something we can never attain, a level of perfectness, and say why even try? This may cause discouragement and or disillusionment. Or others think of it as a long list of dos and don’ts. I’ve talked to many who rather not have a relationship with Christ because they think they have to give up so much but that’s not true, he can set you free. On the contrary, those who trust in him for salvation will gain, and his sacrifice will be accredited to us and will be made holy.
In Leviticus 19 the Lord told Moses to tell the people to be holy, for I am holy. The word for holy in Hebrew is “qadash,” which means to be sanctified or to be separated from the world and worldliness. So he’s saying to us be holy, or different than the rest of the crowd. How do we do that?
To live a holy life then is to live a life in conformity to God’s word and in contrast to the ways of the world. Through salvation, God gives us a helper and we receive the Holy Spirit that empowers us. Holiness is a lifelong process. True salvation brings with it a desire to be set apart and blameless before him. The grace of God teaches us to say no to ungodliness and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives
It’s time to make Purity a priority and answer the call.