Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 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; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV)
There is an assumption that to be holy, one must be alone or at least surrounded by other people who like to be alone. When we think of titles like “Holy man” or “Holy one,” images of quiet men in robes living on a mountain top come to mind. While I would never dismiss the discipline and dedication that is shown by that lifestyle, I am not sure that it is the pinnacle of holiness.
Jesus, The Holy One, was engaged and connected to those around Him. His moments of solitude and prayer are notable, but they were not where He stayed. His ministry is marked by movements from isolation to intervention; from stillness to action; from quietness to proclamation. It is obvious that Jesus did not need His time intervening, acting and proclaiming to spend time alone, but used His time of isolation, stillness and quietness to prepare for moments of engagement.
Our movements should follow the same pattern. Our solitude, silence and prayers with God inform and transform us to then move into the world. Holiness may be forged in the disciplines that set us apart to God, but it is expressed in the activities of community and fellowship. My daughter has been learning to pray regularly, read her devotions, seek God in quiet moments and learn what it is to be His child, but I want her to know that these are just doors to living a holy life with and among others. She needs to understand that to “Be still and know that I am God” needs to lead her to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19 NRSV)
Holiness matters to God, but life in community helps make holiness matter to others. We can be holy in isolation, but it is hard to be salt and light in isolation. God’s holiness does not stay in heaven, but invades this present life through His kingdom and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When we are holy as He is holy, our holiness does not stay somewhere inaccessible to those around us. It is engaged in the lives of others through a mind prepared for action. It is empowered by the fullness of hope we have through grace. It is the cure for the sin in our lives. Holiness together for each other and the glory of God.
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