My daughter, Hannah Kenyon, starts her senior year at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, next month. For an online course she is taking this summer from Global University, she was required to post a blog related to her class. Here is what she has written:
For those of us growing up in the church we may have heard that God’s nature is Holy. We may have even heard that because “God is Holy, we must be Holy” (Leviticus 11:44). Maybe we even sang songs on Sunday Mornings, such as Holy, Holy, Holy by John Bacchus Dykes or Holy by Matt Redman. Without even thinking about what holy meant or what it meant to be holy, we probably heard these verses and sang these songs. We probably did not even question if we should still be holy today, since this was written all the way back in the Old Testament, in Leviticus. We may have even gone on our way and tried to be holy, without much direction as to what that meant. I know that I am guilty of this. In fact, before I set out writing this blog I did not understand what the word holy even meant. Let’s dig into this command together today, shall we?
What does holy mean? According to dictionary.com, holy means “entitled to worship as or if sacred” (dictionary.com). If we take this definition, this says that holiness as God’s nature means that He is entitled to be worshiped. If this is the case, and God commanded us in Leviticus that we should be Holy as well, does this mean that we are also entitled to be worshiped? To be worthy of worship seems so weird to us, mere humans. It also seems weird to think that God would want us to be worshiped along with Him, since all the glory and worship should be on Him. Maybe we are not supposed to be worshiped. Maybe this definition of Holy is used to describe God, but there is a better definition of Holy that depicts us. When I looked back on dictionary.com again, another definition it gives is to be “dedicated or devoted to the service of God” (dictionary.com). This seems to better define us mere humans, doesn’t it?
What does it mean for us to be Holy? Like the above definition says, it means to be “dedicated or devoted to the service of God”. Let’s unpack this a little. To be dedicated or devoted is to be seriously focused on one or more tasks or beings, so much so that we do not allow ourselves to be distracted by other people or things. In other words, to be holy means to be completely focused on the will of our Lord, without allowing ourselves to be distracted. I think this looks slightly different for everyone, since God has a slightly differently will for all of us. However, our initial will of the Lord is to be in complete awe and surrender to Him, so we should be completely devoted to that task. This looks like obedience to God, diving into His Word, being willing to pray bravely and worship Him without holding back. At least this is the picture I get from this. Again, this may be different from one person to the other.
Now that we have answered what holy means and how to be holy, let’s tackle if we should be holy today since that command was given, so long ago in the first five books of the Bible. I believe this command to be holy, or completely devoted to God’s will for our lives is still God’s command for us today. 1 Peter 1:14-16 says, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16 NIV). Here once again, it says that we should be Holy because God is holy. Since this command is found also in the New Testament, it suggests that we should keep this command that God gave to the Israelites so long ago.
The command to be Holy, that God gave the Israelites in the fourth book of the Bible, remains a command for us today. I challenge you to discover what being Holy means to you and your life according to God’s will. If you don’t know what God’s will for you is, I suggest you use the advice of Maria from “The sound of music” and “start at the very beginning”, God’s word, “a very good place to start” (Sound of Music 1965). Start with reading a chapter of the Bible a day. Be holy, devoting yourself to God and His will for you and you will be blessed.
Sources: "Holy." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 28 July 2017. <http://www.dictionary.com/>.