I Want to be Holy (But It Might Get Messy)

Unlike last year, I’m not making any new resolutions for my year. I’m not trying to lose weight or to double down on my minimizing. There is not a grand overhaul of my life that will occur in the coming year. I am not going to jump on a bandwagon, embracing the latest diet craze, I am simply going to be more holy.

God has called us to be holy. We are to be set apart from the rest of the world and made distinctive as a nation of priests. We are saved by grace but that’s not the end of the sentence, God also predestined us to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Through His saving grace, we aren’t left in our sin but are given a new life and are changed.

But as a Christian, I am a deeply broken person. Part of what unites us as Christians is the deep understanding of the brokenness around us and inside of us. We long for the restoration that we are incapable of bringing about ourselves.

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” – 1 Peter 14-19, ESV

Holiness is the standard we are held to. Even as God Himself is holy, we are called to be holy. 

I would rather focus on my sinfulness. Not because I like being a sinner, but because I can fulfill that expectation. If I admit that the goal is holiness, it I strive through the power of the Holy Spirit to be transformed into the image of Christ, then I have to confront my areas of failure.

Failure, shortcomings, sinfulness, it all has to be confronted head-on. I have to own my mistakes and trust in God’s ability to work completely in my life to make me holy. Each area I fail to own my sin is an area I am saying I don’t trust the blood of Christ to cover my sin. 

But when I humble myself, when I own my sin, I acknowledge there is grace, because of the precious blood of Christ. I allow my brothers and sisters in Christ to see that Christ’s blood is not given to heal the healthy but to mend the broken, sinful people.

So I’m setting the goal this year to be holy. And, I’ve already failed it. Daily. Hourly. Minutely even. But even though I know failure is certain this year, I know that victory is as certain as the sun rising. It is a goal that I will keep, not because I won’t try to give up, but because I will be sustained by Christ.

He has promised to make me and the entirety of His Church spotless and radiant. He has bought us with His very body and blood and will one day present us, His redeemed bride, to the Father. 

Will you join me this year? Will you walk your life not afraid of the messy but ready to confront it and let God redeem it?

Can we stop ignoring sin and start openly striving for holiness, even when the process isn’t a walk in the park?

We will fail. But when we are not faithful, God is faithful. He will be faithful to work and mold us. May we all be as moldable as the clay in the Potter’s Hand. May we be tender to His touch and willing to move as He guides us until, through His power, we arrive at the end of this journey fully transformed into the likeness of the only Son of God.

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  1. Love this. We actually spent an entire Bible study on the question: Are we striving to be made holy? Such an important part of sanctification and growing in faith. Thanks for diving into this topic 🙂

  2. What a wonderful goal Bailey! I love the way you claim the fact that you will, and have already failed, and that this fact doesn’t have a thing to do with the victory that will be yours thanks to the work of Christ. When I see people like you who are relying on Him for their everything, it refreshes me. I know, as you do, that He will give you victory! Praising Him with you!

  3. I like the idea of a goal of holiness. I just put together a list of goals for the new year using the “Wheel of Life” (different categories like career, family, finances, spirituality, etc) and I found it was a struggle to come up with some “Spiritual” goals. Holiness seems like a wonderful goal to work towards. I was just wondering if there’s anything you’re doing practically to work towards holiness this year or if it’s more of a mindset thing? I struggle with “spiritual” goals of not making them Pharisaical, but also making them something I can actually put into practice. Just thought I’d pick your brain:)

    • I’m working on instilling more regular spiritual practices (fasting, prayer, time in the Word, etc.) to help cultivate holiness. I’m also striving to bring greater accountability into my life (not exactly sure what that will look like) this year.

      I think the heart of the issue is what makes it pharisaical. If we are trying to promote ourselves through good works, that is pharisaical. If we are trying to point others to God and to honor Him through a life of holiness, there’s nothing to worry about.

  4. Woah…. Absolutely beautiful post! Holiness is a high calling, one we can only fulfill by humbling our hearts and accepting God’s gift of grace. My ultimate holiness comes from Christ. Yet we are called to work toward it here and now. And that work is #messy, for sure! I have to know what your dandelion means to you… I have one in my logo, too! Many blessings to you as you allow the Potter to mold your mess into His masterpiece.

    • Thank you, Liz. It is a high, hard calling. So grateful we aren’t left alone in our efforts.

      As for the dandelion, I am sorry to disappoint, but there isn’t a specific reason I chose that flower. Although I have always loved the dandelion’s simple beauty, I just simply loved the way it looked in the logo mock-ups. What does it mean to you?

  5. Thanks for this thought-provoking post. Such a “simple” concept – yet challenging to achieve! Your post also reminds me of the idea of “failing forward” – we may fail in some way each day, but as long as we acknowledge it, and keep moving FORWARD, we are making progress!

  6. I was comforted recently reading the fact that my sin/failure to be holy is no surprise to God. To almost “rest” in the idea that, yes, I will fail this side of Glory. It’s a heavenly/earthly conundrum: to rest and strive, to be like Jesus, act like Jesus, and rest on Jesus mercy and blood-covering. great post, bailey. God will provide (oh, that’s right, He has – a conundrum)

  7. Holiness is messy work and the thought of wanting to be more like Christ is scary. It means that Jesus will show us our sin or lead us through trials to teach us and help us grow. Wanting to be more like Christ is a bit scary, but I am so thankful that we don’t have to go it alone.

  8. Messy indeed Sis!

    With all the crucifying of the flesh, pleading the blood of Jesus, and being the living sacrifice I am called to be, I will be a bloody mess! Yet white as snow before the Lord🙌

    I am committed to planting the right seeds to reap an abundant harvest, that will be pleasing to the Lord for 2018.

  9. I think the thing that encourages me toward holiness most is the fact that God already knows we’re going to fail – that’s why He sent Jesus. It helps me to let go of past and future failings and to not beat myself up about them. It’s so easy for me to dwell.

  10. Yes, we will fail but we can trust God to be faithful, full of grace, and ready to forgive us when we take our sin to him. He is holy and calls us to be holy too!

  11. Holiness! I’ve never thought of it that way. Drawing closer to God, yes. But Holiness – Wow! I fail every second of every day too but what a great goal to strive towards!