We tend to think of holiness as a “starchy starkness” from the world. Holiness is the absence of secular thought and things, we contend. Therefore, if we stay away from such insidious and polluting notions we are, by default, holy. This concept of holiness may very well keep you out of the court room, but it will not guarantee you a place at the throne room. The idea of holiness cannot just be “separation from,” it must also be “separation to.”
Are You Running From or Running To?
A holy life is not just separation from worldly things, it is also separation to spiritual things. And ultimately, holiness begins with being separated to Christ. As a result of being separated to Christ, you will naturally become separated from the world. This idea is played out in Psalms 42:1, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” In pursuit of the Heavenly Spring, David was thirsty for God. That thirst would be quenched not so much by leaving his present location, but rather by pursuing another location – the location of God’s presence. He wasn’t running from something or some place; he was running to Someone. This is holiness in its purest form.
We’ve Mixed Up the Order
Many believers struggle with the idea of holiness because they have gotten the order mixed up. They believe if they can rid their lives from worldly music, television shows, racy magazines, and polluted entertainment that they are on the path to holiness. But the truth is, you can exempt all of those things from your life and still not resemble Christ. Holiness is not just the riddance of sinful depravity; it is the existence of spiritual morality, a morality that manifests itself from having been with Him. The psalmist could have left his dry and thirsty land and be thirsty still. Instead, he had to pursue the Water Brook, and in pursuing the Water Brook, he naturally left the wilderness.
Walking in True Holiness
Holiness is therefore measured by our likeness to Christ, not by our indifference to the world. I encourage you to come out from the world. I encourage you to be different. I encourage you to be separated from the lifestyles, habits, and actions of the unregenerate. But, I encourage you to do those things as a result of your pursuit of Christ. Separation from the world is a difficult, miserable, and empty goal in and of itself. But as David’s deer would contend, every step toward the Water Brook is equally a step away from the barren wasteland. Walk toward God today, and as a result you will walk in holiness.