Outside the four walls of the church, would you ever describe your life as holy? Do you feel comfortable with the word holy when you are speaking to the general public? Probably not. I can’t say that I use the word holy very much outside of a church service or in a Bible study setting.
Why not? The unfortunate reality is that we have allowed the word holy to be hijacked by those who would give it a somewhat pious connotation to it. This is certainly true in the secular world, but even in the religious world. Words like holy-roller, holier-than-thou, are phrases that come immediately to mind when someone claims to be holy.
Why? It is because the world thinks of a religious person as basically a hypocrite because they see so many examples of people who claim to be a Christian, but they live a life that is no different than everyone else around them. They claim to refrain from drinking for religious reasons, but spread gossip at every opportunity. They say they go to church on Sunday, and then they join their friends at a bar on Monday. Statistics would say that a Christian couple is just as likely to commit adultery or have their marriage end in divorce as a non-Christian couple. If these things are true, then there is no wonder that the first thought that comes to mind of an average person when they hear the word holy, is hypocrite, or religious fraud. If you doubt this is true, try describing yourself as living a holy life to one of your lost friends and then watch for the look on their face.
So, as a believer, when we say that we are to live a life that is holy, what does that mean to you?
Does it mean to live life one way while you are at church and another way when you go to work on Monday? How about when you are behind the wheel of your car in traffic, do you live a life that is holy then? Are your actions as you drive holy, are the gestures that you make to other drivers holy, are your words, both the ones you say out loud and the ones that you think in your mind, holy? How about when you are watching your child, or grandchild, play in a sporting event, would somebody listening to your words that you yell at the umpire or referee consider them to be holy?
When God talks about living a life that is holy, He means that your life should be one that is distinct from the secular world. There ought to be a noticeable difference in your life, not a weird difference, but a good difference. Not a hypocritical difference, but a consistent difference. I said last week that for many people, the life of a believer is the only Bible that they will ever read. People should see Christ in your life. Your life should be holy, just as Christ’s life was holy.
We cannot be perfect, but we can keep trying to be more like Christ. We cannot live a holy life by our own will power. It can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit having complete control of our lives. This is the message that Peter has for us today.