How can I live a Holy Life?
In order to address the question of how to live a holy life, we must first understand what holy means. To be holy means to be set apart or separate from sin and evil. God is holy—completely separate from everything that is evil (1 John 1:5). God calls us to be holy, just as He is (1 Peter 1:16, quoting Leviticus 19:2), but it’s vital to understand that apart from God this is impossible. We must have the Holy Spirit indwelling us and filling us with His holiness. We can only live a holy life through the power of the Spirit; thus, the first step to living a holy life is to accept Jesus as the perfect role model (Ephesians 1:13). That’s it in a nutshell. I believe the key to living a holy life is the decision to begin again and again with Jesus each day. We’re weak. We’re tempted. We sin. But God’s grace and mercy is greater than our sin. And so we have two choices: we can choose to focus on our temptations and sins or we can choose to focus on Jesus and begin again each day with his love and grace. If we focus on our weaknesses, there’s little chance that we’ll make progress on the road to holiness; however, if we focus on Jesus and decide to begin again each day, he will strengthen us in perseverance and enable us to grow in virtue.
I love the gospel scene where Peter steps out of the boat to walk toward Jesus who is walking on the water. It perfectly sums up the spiritual life: Distracted by the winds and waves, Peter takes his eyes off of Jesus and begins to sink; but Peter reaches out to Jesus and begs Jesus to save him. What a great lesson! In the winds and waves of life, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. And when we feel we can’t go on, we simply need to imitate Peter, stretch out our hand, and beg Jesus to save us.
It’s not always easy to choose obedience to God, especially if we’re trying to do it all on our own. Satan would love nothing more than to bring us back into bondage through disobedience. But we have the promise, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The Holy Spirit will produce Christlikeness in us, and, as we yield to Him, we can live a holy life (Galatians 5:16).
So forget about yesterday or about the mistakes you made today, and simply choose to begin again. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Take his hand and let him lead you.