Set Apart to Walk in Holiness | October 17th, 2022
There’s nothing like sipping a cup of fresh, dark roast coffee poured into pre-frothed vanilla almond milk creamer. This is my morning routine I’ve had for years, using the same coffee cup every single day. It’s the perfect shape and size and I like its feminine fanciness as opposed to drinking out of a clunky mug. I have set it apart to be used only for sipping my perfect cup of morning coffee.
When we give our life to Jesus Christ, we are also “set apart” for a specific purpose. We have been taken out of the darkness and into the light, set apart from the way the world thinks and acts. We are given a special role to be used by God for His glory as we become more like Him in our thoughts and actions.
“Set apart” in Hebrew is kodesh meaning “holy.” We can never become holy on our own. We are made holy the moment we accept Jesus’ shed blood as the atonement for our sin. He sees us as set apart for Him. Think about the phrase itself…set apart. It indicates favor and exclusivity. What a privilege to be set apart for our Creator, the God of the universe!
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. Psalm 4:3
God’s holy presence in our life forms His character within us so we can reflect Him. The longer we know and obey Him, the more we become like Him. The life of a follower of Christ is lived according to a completely different set of values and morals which sets us apart from the world so we can walk in holiness.
For I am the Lord your God. So set yourselves apart, and be holy. For I am holy. Leviticus 11:44a,b
Walk in Holiness
Walking in holiness begins with renewing our mind by reading God’s Word. It tells us everything we need to know to live in a way that is honoring and pleasing to Him. We are given the Holy Spirit to help us understand it and the power to apply it.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
The more we soak up God’s Word, the more we will begin to feel a pulling away from worldly distractions. We want to spend our time and energy living for Jesus! As we become more like Him in our character, a process called sanctification, He reveals how He wants to use us for a higher purpose and is so good to equip us with everything we need right there in His Word.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Sanctification is a slow process that takes time. It cannot be rushed. It’s a process that is ongoing for our entire life because we must be renewed every day in our thinking, attitude, and actions through the work of the Holy Spirit. We cannot use yesterday’s renewal for today’s new challenges.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16
When we understand that we belong to God and are set apart to glorify Him in all we do as our greatest purpose in life, we find we want to love the things He loves and detest the things that He hates. It becomes important for us to make choices toward holiness in what we watch, look at, read, listen to, who we choose for our closest friends, and the activities in which we are involved. The more God sanctifies us, the less desire we have for our past unholy passions.
Ask yourselves ‘Can I write Holiness to the Lord on them?’ If not, do not have anything to do with them. I wonder what the managers of theatres and music-halls would say if anybody proposed that motto to be put upon the curtain for the spectators to read before it is drawn up for the play. Do you think it would fit? Don’t you, Christian men and women, don’t you go into places where it would not fit. – Alexander Maclaren (Baptist Minister: 1826-1910)
We are undeniably living in a time described in 2 Timothy 3:2-5a: But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between a follower of Christ and a person of the world. They easily flow with the trends without a second thought of where they originate. There is very little to no discernment and it’s easy to see why. They are not in the Word which is where we obtain our godly wisdom and discernment!
Between early 2019 and 2020, the percentage of US adults who say they use the Bible daily dropped from 14 percent to 9 percent, according to the State of the Bible 2020 report by the Barna Group and the American Bible Society (ABS).
The mark of a true follower of Christ is their love for Him through obedience. How can we learn to be obedient if we don’t spend any time in His Word?
When we have a personal relationship with Jesus, we love Him and want to do what pleases Him. We say no to the things that grieve Him and keep us separated from Him. Compromising with the little things will cause us to fall, little by little. This can bring huge, disastrous consequences to our life and slowly pull us further away from God.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16
Can we ever be perfectly sinless? No. If we could, we wouldn’t have a need for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. But through Him, we are seen as holy and righteous so we can enter into eternity with Him. Isn’t that amazing? We, as filthy sinners, are seen as clean and holy before Him! Jesus took our sin for us when He died in our place.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
In the World But Not of It
Another important part of walking in holiness is knowing that although we are in this world we are not of it. Therefore, we should not become captivated by it. How comforting and exciting to know there is something far better waiting for those of us who have been set apart!
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:19
When we are set apart, we see this world with totally new eyes. We become detached from it because we know this world is passing away. Even our physical body is dying and we look forward to the day we are given a new, glorified body in eternity. The older we get with greater aches and pains, the more we can’t wait for that day to come!
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21
Of course, it is much more convenient with less pushback from the world to live comfortably as citizens here. Open the best of the glossy luxury magazines and we see how easy it is to conform to the desires of the world’s sparkly, yet empty, cravings of the flesh, the lust and longings of the eyes, and the pride of possessions.
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16
When we are walking in holiness, set apart for the Lord, we understand that our lasting treasures are in heaven, not in this world. We know we will be rewarded, not by how much money we earned, how many accomplishments we made, the number of “friends” or followers we had on social media, or how many amazing trips we took but by what we did for God’s glory.
As I drink from my much loved coffee cup this morning, I am reminded that I, too, am loved by God and set apart for a special purpose. We are all given this opportunity once we are made holy by accepting Jesus as the perfect atonement for our sin. He wants to work without limitations in our life so when we surrender to Him completely, He will take us and use us in ways we never thought possible. Oh, the joy that awaits!
We may think we can provide ourselves a life with much more satisfaction and happiness than God could ever give us, but it is only when we let Him use us as He intended, set apart as holy for His highest purpose to bring Him glory, that we will experience the greatest fulfillment and lasting joy.
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