Sometimes, when a topic comes to mind for me to write about on Seeking Christ, I cringe a little and think, “I’m nowhere near qualified to write about that. I struggle too much with it myself, so I just shouldn’t talk about it.”
And sometimes when that happens, I still can’t shake the feeling that I need to write about the topic.
That topic today is holiness. Let me tell you, I’m intimidated to talk about holiness with you because I feel like there are so so so many ways that I could make myself and my life more holy. So why should I go around telling other people to be holy?
The fact is, a lot of the time writing helps me figure out what I really think about a topic. It helps me figure out my questions, concerns, and opinions. And it helps me organize it all so it makes more sense.
I’ve been thinking about holiness all week. I tend to look at holiness as an almost unattainable thing. Maybe you do too. Like you can’t be holy unless you’re also perfect, never make mistakes, are super pious, and do nothing but think about God 24/7. But honestly, as great as it would be to be all of those things – we’re not. We’re not perfect. We just aren’t. And until we can receive exaltation from God, perfection will remain out of reach.
We are asked to become holy, to choose holy things in our lives and actions, and to rely on the Holy One of Israel. If we can’t be perfect in this life, but are still asked to be holy, that means that holiness doesn’t necessarily include perfection. Let’s put it this way – a perfect person must be holy, but a holy person may not be perfect (yet).
We need to reassess what it means for us to be holy. And, maybe more important, why it’s urgent for us to become holy at this time.
What It Really Means to be Holy
While I was deciding if I was going to write about holiness, I came across something that helped me feel a lot better about it. Holiness doesn’t mean perfect, but it does mean consecrated and dedicated.
Immediately after reading that, I felt like holiness was actually achievable. I know I’m not perfect and that there are a lot of things I could improve in, but I also know that I can dedicate myself to God. That’s something I’ve covenanted to do anyway, so the more I dedicate myself to God, the more holy I can be.
Isn’t it comforting to see that we’re not asked to do the impossible? That there isn’t a qualifying standard of perfection required for us to follow God and dedicate ourselves to Him? That holiness is part of our progression?
It’s a simple adjustment to perspective, and once we understand what holiness really is, the next question is how to become more holy.
I like President Eyring’s answer to this:
The scriptures teach us that among other things, we can be sanctified or become more holy when we exercise faith in Christ, demonstrate our obedience, repent, sacrifice for Him, receive sacred ordinances, and keep our covenants with Him. Qualifying for the gift of holiness requires humility, meekness, and patience.President Henry B. Eyring, “Holiness and the Plan of Happiness,” October 2019
God has made it clear to us, over and over, what we need to do to become holy. Those answers are repeated all the time – faith, obedience, repentance, etc.
The constant repetition of these answers doesn’t negate their importance. These are foundational principles that holiness and progression are built on. They are the small things that God asks us to do to access the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and it is through Christ that holiness comes to us.
Repentance is a Sign of Increasing Holiness
I find it really interesting that repentance is specifically mentioned as a way to become more holy. I think it’s more common to associate repentance with sin, but repentance is all about changing for the better.
Holiness is not typically our natural instinct. As humans, we tend to lean toward “the natural man.” Because of this, we all have reason to repent, to change our hearts, and to accept the power of God in our lives.
When we repent, we actively choose to let go of the sin, pain, sorrow, guilt, and so on that has been holding us back. We choose to embrace a different way of living that is closer to how God lives. And choosing to go through that process shows that we are increasing in holiness. As President Nelson said,
When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. We choose to grow spiritually and receive joy—the joy of redemption in Him. When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ!President Russell M. Nelson, “We Can Do Better and Be Better,” April 2019
Holiness doesn’t come through our own choices alone. God grants us His infinite holiness when we make the choice to change. His power gives us strength to completely change, and His power stays with us when we continue to seek change. God’s love and mercy allow Him to give us this amazing gift of holiness.
Our Urgent Need for Holiness
You might be wondering why I’m choosing to write about holiness now. It’s a good question to ask because it might not seem as relevant as other issues or topics might be right now.
Here’s why I think holiness is an important topic for us to talk about right now – holiness is one of our best defenses. It’s the power of God becoming a foundational part of who we are, and it gives us incredible strength.
We live in the last days. We live in a time when Satan’s lies are more accepted than they have ever been before, and when the laws of God are mocked.
But when we seek the gift of holiness in our lives, seek to become holy like our Father and Savior, we will find ourselves in holy places. We will be secure in the truth of the gospel and very little will have the power to sway us from that faith and certainty. And that holiness will also give us the power to see those who want holiness too and help us lead those people to receive holiness as well.
When we live holy, we are more unified with those we love. We are more unified with God. Holiness is truly the best preparation and the best defense we have against evil because it makes us one with God. We begin to see as He sees, to do as He does, and to love as He loves.
Again, we aren’t perfect. But we can be better than we are. We can take steps to protect ourselves, our families, our loved ones, and even people we have yet to meet. Our consecration and dedication to God will allow us to give more of ourselves and find greater joy in our lives.
I know that there are a lot of ways I could be more holy. But I’m starting to see how much power holiness has and its role in our salvation. I think it’s worth pursuing the gift of holiness right now. There’s so much confusion and so many opinions out there – but holiness helps us see the truth. There is strength in staying close to God. Strength in dedicating your life and choices to Him. And I think we’ll all be surprised in the near future to find how much we have been protected by the holiness of God.