God calls each of us to live a life of personal holiness. This goes much deeper than having a daily prayer time or attending a service on the weekend. Personal holiness is more than what we do. It’s also about what we don’t do. It’s what we choose to think about, and what we refuse to dwell on. Personal holiness will affect the words we say and those we don’t speak.
It’s all-consuming. When we allow the holiness of God to permeate our entire being, everything changes. Everything looks different. We cannot afford to let even the smallest hint of sin take up residence in our hearts because it will eventually infect our entire body.
Paul warned the believers in Corinth that “a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough.” (I Corinthians 5:6-7). He was explaining how letting sinful behavior coexist with what is right will eventually corrupt everything in our lives. Sin has a way of reproducing itself and darkening our minds. What we might perceive as a small thing will grow into an unmanageable mess. We cannot live in a state of personal holiness so long as we are allowing any wrong behavior to maintain a residence in our hearts.
This can be a painful process. The sad truth is, many of us have become comfortable with some sinful habits and behaviors in our lives. Some of them have become so natural we scarcely recognize them as sin anymore. The first step towards personal holiness is to catalog the habits and behaviors in your life. Examine them in the light of God’s standards for us. Take each activity or thought one by one and determine whether it is pleasing to God. If it’s not, it has to go. Remember Paul’s warning. Only a little sin will find a way of working completely through our hearts.
Everything we watch, listen to, think, say, or do must come under scrutiny. Ridding our lives of sinful patterns will not be easy. The devil will not easily relinquish the footholds he has in our lives. But thankfully our God is much stronger. He will help us get rid of every trace of sin if we ask Him to. Of course, we first must be willing to let go of these things. If we love Jesus and are both serious and desperate to live a life that looks like His, we will want to get rid of everything that does not look like Him.
Personal holiness is a radical proposition. It will not make you popular in this life but will prove invaluable in the life to come. Living in opposition to Christ is the most shortsighted thing anyone can do. We must take the long view. Sacrificing a little temporary pleasure now will result in an eternity of joy like we cannot even imagine. Don’t allow a little lingering sin to rob you of eternal glory. Rid yourself of every kind of evil (1 Peter 2:1; Ephesians 4:22-5:5). Understand your time is short, and what you do with it has eternal consequences. Pursue a life of personal holiness and find your life in Jesus.