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Holiness is a Way of Thinking

Holiness requires that we think differently about ourselves. It demands we consider our own motivations and actions.
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Holiness acknowledges that there is a good way to think and a poor way to think—there is right and there is wrong. Holy thinking is the recognition of this separation. But holy thinking is personal.

Consider the problem in Isaiah’s day:

I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices…who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. (Isa 65:2, 5).

The people misunderstood holiness. Not only did they live in a truly unholy way (v. 3-4), but they looked at others and judged whether or not others were holy. There is irony in this: by judging others, they nullified their own holiness!

Thus, holiness requires that we think differently about ourselves. It demands we consider our own motivations and actions. Holiness necessitates that we ask ourselves why we make the choices we do and what principles are at play in our decisions. It means we ask ourselves how our choice glorifies God.

We consider if we make choices out of faith or not (Rom 14:23). The way I apply these principles and act in faith will look different in my particular context than it will look in yours. This is why holiness is not one specific way of acting. It isn’t a book of rituals. It isn’t a member’s handbook.

Indeed, holiness manifests itself in actions (1 Thess 4:4; 2 Pet 3:11). But those actions are actions that are motivated by faith. It’s all about the motivation and the recognition that for me, there are things that would blur the line between my faith and the world.

For you, those things might be different, or they might be the same. Each person individually, at each point in their lives, must determine for themselves what it means to think separately.

Holy thinking must stem from faith.

What does it mean for you to think differently than the world? How do you show the principles of love and kindness? How do you live God’s character? These differences in application are critical.

Without recognition of these distinctions, holiness can be solidified as a set of laws or rules that everyone must follow. Those who adhere to the laws are seen as holy—and those who do not, aren’t. Adherence to the rules could mean faith for some but could be done without faith for others.

Holy thinking must stem from faith. Holiness isn’t as easy as a establishing a code of rules. It requires constant awareness of motivation and intention. It requires consistent consideration of principles. And it is specific to each person.

Thus, every individual must determine how they implement holy thinking—God’s character—in their own situation. Without doing so, as the apostle warned, no one can see the Lord (Heb 12:14).

Jason Hensley,
Simi Hills Ecclesia, CA

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