"The most gracious gift you can give to one another is to be unsatisfied with unholy living".I think we often think of holiness as a personal issue - my choices, my lifestyle, my behavior....but there are several places in scripture where we see holiness as a community issue - - one person's holiness or unholiness affects the entire church or community.
1 Corinthians 1:3 says, "I am writing to God’s church in Corinth,[a] to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus,[b] just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.Paul's letter was to God's church, to God's holy people, and so I think we can assume that Paul was writing to an entire faith community about the importance of living lives as foreigners and strangers, living differently from the rest of the world.
Saturday morning we had a panel of Godly women share about their experiences following God and striving for holiness in the midst of crappy circumstances, divorce, health problems, and busy lives/careers. As they shared their stories and their very different experiences, there were some common themes that emerged about remaining holy:
Be in the WORD
There's no way for us to know what God wants for us without consistently reading God's Word. Do a search for words like holy and holiness and you'll begin to understand what a big deal this is to God.
Make sure you're submitting to spiritual authorities
17Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them? - Hebrews 13:17 (MSG)
It's hard for us to admit we don't know it all. But God put us together in a community together for a purpose -- to learn from each other and be admonished and challenged and encouraged by each other. Living holy lives requires that we're willing to be transparent with a small group of people and especially those who are in leadership above us. It means making sure that you have a few older women who you allow to speak truth into your life. And then we have to be willing to listen.