- How do you feel when you read God saying “Be holy as I am holy”?
- What do you think? Do you think first of being seen with the righteousness of Jesus?
- How does the desire to be holy change your life?
Holiness in your own life …
- How do you learn what’s good and what’s bad? Try to make a list of the things that influence you in that regard.
- Do you love what’s good and hate what’s bad? Do you have a personal reaction to encountering goodness or evil?
When you’re not holy …
- Do you love anything that’s bad?
- How do you relate with God about that?
- How do you relate with friends at church, or your pastor about that?
- Do you have hope that you can change?
Holiness through your work…
- What good things can be achieved through your work?
- Do you have a personal reaction to that? Do you love that?
- Ask God how He feels about that, and learn to agree with Him.
- Do you ever see your type of work being done badly, or being used to achieve bad ends? Do you hate that? Ask God how He feels about that, and learn to agree with Him.
Holiness in church work …
- Do you work in the church?
- How do you help people grow in holiness?
- Are there ways in which you struggle with it yourself?
- Do you have people who can help you change and grow?
It’s so difficult to narrow down a study of holiness in the Bible. The following are very broad categories that you could investigate.
The Tabernacle, Temple and Cross
If you wanted to learn about holiness then you could read about the construction of the Tabernacle, the operation of the sacrificial system with the Tabernacle and temple (both Solomon’s temple and the rebuilt temple after the exile), as well as all that is written about what Jesus achieved through the Crucifixion. Obviously this is a huge area of study, but you could look for how people approached the presence of God, why they had to do it in that way, and what that says about God.
The Prophets contain many things that are difficult to read, let alone to understand, but I think we get to see the heart of God more vividly portrayed than in virtually any of part of the Bible. You could chose any of the prophets and as you read it, look for the things that God cares about. What does He love, and what does He hate? And also look for how this affects the prophet.
Again, where do you begin if you’re studying holiness in the life of Jesus? I would suggest looking for the things that Jesus loved, and the things that He hated. Can you identify specifics? Why do you think He felt that way? And now look at the effect that had on those around Him – especially try to see how it affected the disciples. Did He ever challenge them about what they cared about?
This is a painful study – but look for the places where God brings judgment against individuals or nations. Why does He do that? And what’s that experience like for God?
Finally, look for examples throughout the Bible where God partnered with people – with Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, the Prophets or the Apostles. Why did God do that? What did they share in common? I think it would be very fruitful to understand how those relationships progressed, because God is relentlessly holy, and He draws His people into that as well.