This is not a question asked very often, but I believe at times in our lives we have struggled with it. Maybe it was shortly after you accepted Christ and you really wanted to grow in your faith. Maybe it was after a challenging sermon that made you evaluate your Christian journey. It could have resulted from the questions of a caring brother or sister in Christ. In my experience, it is dealt with usually after someone is challenged in their faith, but not commonly considered in our daily lives.
Paul makes no bones about being holy in his words to the Philippians.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
He writes clearly that these are basic expectations for living the holy Christian life. It is not about religious practice but about a life transformed by the gospel. One who has had life change will think and act differently than before. Living a holy life is about making a change in our thoughts and in our actions. Our thought life should focus on several things:
What is true, legitimate, valid and reliable. This is a defining characteristic of God.
What is noble, honest and just; things that are worthy of God’s standards.
What is pure, lovely, and of a good report; referring to things with moral purity and the idea of being attractive and praiseworthy to the highest standards. It is in direct opposition to the standards of the world.
That which possesses virtue and praise; a challenge to the believer to discern what is worthy of his or her thought life.
The challenge for our actions is addressed with a few simple words: learn it and apply it. Paul instructs us to learn through teaching, instruction and personal observation. His lessons and life example would be sufficient to give guidance and direction to others. The things we have learned are great, but they are meaningless if we do not put them into practice.
God promises that he will be with us both in the process of becoming holy and as a resultant blessing. There is great assurance in the Christian life knowing that God walks alongside as we travel our faith journey practicing and performing his expectations. We are not alone to fend for ourselves in the task of holiness, and God is faithful to provide direction and support in His expectations along the way.
Pastor Brian Freerksen