But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
This verse was my least favorite for a very long time for the sole reason that it is the verse that commanded me to be something that came so very hard. How could I achieve holiness? The slightest interruption in my plans, or day would cause me to sink into a “this is not fair”, “how dare you” attitude. Most days I felt like the holiness that I was commanded to achieve was somewhere far in the depths of the milky way completely and utterly unattainable. God is holy, and I felt anything but that.
Sin is maddening, frustrating, destructive, and can turn the best of days into an utter disaster. I hate sin, yet, it can be so captivating, tempting, and so close at hand. When I try to fight sin it fights back with a vengeance and too often leaves me in defeat. It leaves a guilt that weighs on you so you can hardly breath. It can feel impossible to put to death and overcome.
It has taken me most of my life since I was born again in Christ to realize that God can make His people far holier than they ever could imagine to be. I don’t serve a God that would look at me and say “I bet she won’t be able to do this, but I’ll make her try anyways”. No, I serve a God who is perfectly and relentlessly committed to my holiness; a God that would not tell me to do something I could not do.
To the Christian, God’s commands are not tasks on a to-do list, or a vague standard to loosely abide by. God’s commands are promises that we can achieve this. We are given the command and He allows us the means to fulfill and obey the command. Through Him we are given the desire of righteousness, and the desire to kill sin. We incur guaranteed failure only if we try to do this ourselves. I have learned the lesson that in my ownself there lies no good thing too often. God gives to us the Holy Spirit to make this all possible. God gives us commands so that we can take hold of His promises and see Him prove that in all this He is faithful and just.
So I want to encourage you and tell you that you can be far holier that you ever thought possible. You can overcome sin; I cannot promise that it will never raise its ugly head again, but you can see great success against that sin. You can, because where God gives a command, he also gives the means to obey that command and move forward victorious.