By Isam Itson III
Leviticus 11:44 – for I am the Lord your God and you are to sanctify yourselves and be holy because I am holy
1 Peter 1:15-16 – as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
The Hebrew Bible, and the Christian Bible, present us with God’s call for us to be holy. But what does that mean? The word holy means sacred or set apart. When we talk about God being holy we mean that God is set apart or separate from us. It means that there is no one and nothing else like him. God is transcendent in every way. When we talk about God making us holy it means he is setting us apart for his use in the pursuit of his purposes. When we encourage each other to be holy it means we are encouraging each other to honor the fact that God created us for the fulfillment of his purposes. In essence, it means that we should be about God’s business. Mostly we know what to do, but often we are not prepared or equipped to follow through. We want to do the right thing, but we just aren’t strong enough or smart enough. That’s the way it feels anyway.
One of the key factors we often overlook in God’s call to holiness is that it is given to members of communities as a whole. In Leviticus God is delivering his message through Moses to the people of Israel. In 1 Peter, the Apostle Peter is writing to a local church congregation. When we look at the creation accounts in Genesis chapters one and two, the only thing that God says is not good is for a human to live without close, open, honest, and deeply interdependent relationships with other humans. In essence, we cannot live truly holy lives that honor God’s love, faithfulness, and value for his creation without each other’s help.
Practical holiness is about answering the challenge to stay true to God’s work and vision in our daily lives through every season of life and in the face of every trial and crisis. Practically Holy is a community dedicated to empowering people to help each other live as God’s holy people. We are committed to helping each other love God and honor God’s love for others with our whole being, no matter what it costs us. God made us for himself as servants for each others benefit. The more faithful we are to God’s ideal for us, the more love, joy, peace, and fulfillment we experience in our daily lives and local communities.