“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (12:14).
I think about holy meaning “set apart”, made in His image, devoted, sanctuary, blessed.
Being made in His image sounds great, but do we really want to be set apart? Is that peaceable? Why does God tell us to be holy, set apart? Should everybody else not be like us, and us like them? How can we even know what it is to be separated from? Is the sanctuary open to everyone?
Holy sounds exclusive and mysterious. Exclusivities are so easily set up in perversions, historically yielding examples of horrible things done in the name of being set apart, or even in the name of holiness. Some of these precepts go against natural and supernatural life. There are so many different iterations of people saying that they are separate from the rest to a terribly distorted end.
So how can I know the difference in these types of separations? One piece of evidence in the verse above maybe asking ourselves if this falls under “every effort to live in peace with all men”. For me one of the most obvious things to discern is the fruit. We are all known by our fruit.
So what are we producing in our thoughts and choices? What are we setting them apart for? What are we committing them to? Our jobs? Our feelings? Are we committed to not committing?
We all have the capacity to be deceived and there are times when the purpose of being set apart, committed, or holy gets confused, misused, or just abandoned. Sometimes we can be complacent or get totally turned around. The fallibility of our humanity can give any commitment a bad result and reputation.
The most fruitful place for me to recognize how we are set exclusively in reserve, is in marriage. In the declaration and sanctity of this bond we set ourselves apart committing in love to God and man and spouse, that forsaking all others we prioritize our spouse and dedicate our lives to them. I think this is the in the most intimate image of Gods love for us.
Another way that we dedicate ourselves is to our children. We may love all of the kids in the neighborhood but we are not going to wake up everyday and make breakfast for all of them. Just like they are dedicated to us. When the day is done they will come home where they are set apart.
So we are made holy, dedicated, set apart, committed, sanctified by the renewal of our minds.
When you are tempted to fear, hurt, anger or hunger you can remember your purpose. You can be renewed in every effort. You can remember what you are set apart for and that if a thing is not in Christ’s love, it may be permissible but not beneficial. You can remember that you are called to be at peace with all men. We can all remember that without holiness no one will see the Lord.
You are what God says that you are! You are enough!
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Anna Hargett is a lover of art, writing, music, running, and lifting weights. She finds great satisfaction as a wife, mother of two growing girls and two puppies. She works as an occupational therapy assistant and is passionate about helping people across the lifespan live life to its fullest. Anna is a lifetime learner, explorer, and creative enjoying this precious time we have with much gratitude. Click here o read more of Anna’s bio.