“for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16, NIV

In high school, I vividly remember one of the teachers coming to our house to talk with my parents because my sister was fighting in his class with another girl. Yes, you read it correctly. There was a time when some teachers would visit homes. In addition, this teacher had taught several of my siblings, so he knew my family. When my parents asked why she was fighting, my sister said, “I was fighting for you!” She explained that the girl was teasing her about them and calling them holy rollers. My parent’s response was not what she expected. They told her that someone calling them holy was a compliment. As a child, I did not understand their response. Back then, everyone (except my parents) knew that talking about someone’s mama and daddy (especially their mama) was grounds for fighting.

This childhood memory came to mind during Holy Week and raises the question, do Christians have an aversion to holiness or being called holy?

Holy Week is when Christians worldwide remember the events that preceded the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. We attend church, Easter programs, plays, concerts, and family meals. For many, it is a time of fasting, praying, and reflecting on what God did by sending Jesus as the sacrifice for the redemption of humanity.

But in all our doing and remembering, are we desiring and diligently pursuing a life of holiness?

References to our call to holiness are in the Old and New Testaments. The apostle Peter resonates this call in 1 Peter 1:16, “for it is written: “Be holy because I am holy.” Being holy means set apart for God, and our lives should align with his purpose. Only through the transformative work of the cross and the daily sanctification process of striving to reflect the character of Christ can believers live set apart for God’s service.

What are some practical ways for us to pursue holiness?

  1. Resist allowing Holy Week to become an annual ritual, but embrace it as a transformative time of spiritual reflection and renewal.
  2. Honestly, acknowledge and confess sin. Sin separates us from God, but God is faithful and just and forgives us of our sins. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to turn away from and resist sin.
  3. Pray for and seek out a trusted believer in Jesus Christ you can trust with your failures, model the pursuit of holiness, and hold you accountable. This friend should love you enough to speak the truth.
  4. Practice prayer and Bible study as a way of life and obey God’s Word. Obedience is essential in pursuing a life of holiness.
  5. Choose to reject ungodly and worldly influences. Avoid relationships, activities, and behaviors that lead you away from pursuing holiness. Holiness is a daily process and not about perfection.

Experience the joy of Holy Week! Remember the tremendous sacrifice made for us through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Commit to desiring and diligently pursuing holiness. We are to be holy and set apart for God’s purpose.

Talulah Ruger, RN, MSN (MACE, 2006) served on the leadership team for the DTS-Houston Alumni Association. A retired oncology nurse, she is a Bible teacher, motivational speaker, and writer. Talulah is the CEO and founder of Talulah Ruger Ministries, a teaching ministry to inspire and motivate people 50 and older to use their faith experience and life stories to positively influence others through intergenerational mentoring. She is also an instructor for the Opened Bible Academy in Houston, TX.