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But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV

Worn hands on a Bible seemed the perfect image to begin our section about getting to the other side of trying hard and about holiness. Just like we began the healing and happiness sections, we’ll look at what holiness is and what it isn’t. 

Here’s what holiness is … 

Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of holy:

devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity

devout, godly, pious, religious, sainted, saintly

The rest of this section is about what holiness is not … 

antireligious, faithless, godless, impious, irreligious, ungodly, unholy

My husband John and I joke that being holy does not mean talking in a reverent voice, one that speaks softer and drops an octave when sharing about God. I know, I know, we’re not practicing holiness when we talk about how someone talks. 

The truth is, though, speaking “holy” distracts from our holiness. 

So does the language we sometimes use. 

My dad served 21 years in the Air Force, so I learned a language foreign to children who weren’t brats (kids from military families). We lived on an Air Force base in base housing, shopped at the BX (the base exchange), and bought groceries from the commissary (the base grocery store). We drove through the front gate to get home. Because of the rise of HOAs, people these days understand gated communities, but not so much when I was younger. 

Just like military people formed a subculture that included our own jargon, so have churches. We’re vessels (people who believe in God) filled with the Holy Spirit (our Helper – the part of God who resides here to protect, help, and guide us), and we’re  here to share His Word (the Bible). 

If we use this language to sound holy, we’re not going to seem holy – being more like Jesus – at all. At best, we’re annoying. 

Christian writer’s guidelines often include “no Christianese,” which means the publisher doesn’t want articles submitted that include a bunch of holy-sounding words that come across as preachy. The world doesn’t want that either. 

Holiness is about our actions, not our talk. In the next section, we’ll talk about how to get there … for real.  

In This Together,

FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because the blog posts will eventually be an entire manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. Each blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is one subheading within the chapter. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and suggestions. I’m over-the-top grateful you’re here.

I have something for you!


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