“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 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.”
Fr. Larry Tan once asked members of the Alabang Chapter: “Who wants to be holy?” Not too many raised their hands. Disappointed at the response, Fr. Tan sarcastically remarked that one who has not made a decision to be holy cannot claim to be a true Christian. To be holy must be a choice and commitment that each one, especially leaders of a Christian community, must make. All Christians are called to a life of holiness.
What is holiness? Holiness is essentially being obedient to the will of God. Obedience involves a daily journey of discerning and being sensitive to the voice of God and acting upon the promptings of His Holy Spirit. It is listening to the daily whispers of God. Our heavenly Father knows how imperfect we are. That is why He gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit to help and guide us back to Him when we commit a mistake. God doesn’t expect immediate perfection. He wants us to make a choice. He smiles when He sees us rise when we stumble. He asks us to have faith in Him that if we take that first step, he will be there to help us make the second, the third and onward steps. Holiness is a decision we make every day as we journey through life.
Being holy is not about living a life of absolute discipline and mindlessly following every rule ever made. It’s about being in love with God. It involves laying our hearts bare before the Lord, worshiping him, crying out to him, and letting him cleanse us of our sins. As we enter into this intimate relationship with God, He will reveal himself to us and will become our greatest desire. His Holy Spirit will reshape our minds so that we begin to delight in his ways and adopt them as our own.
As a result of this love relationship, we receive the grace to emulate the example of Jesus. He is pleased to see us being thankful, generous, patient, forbearing, humble and living our lives according to those virtues that Jesus lived by. He values everything we do that takes us one step closer to becoming Christ in this world.
Being holy is making choices that make our Heavenly Father smile at us. Doing good. Loving others. Being kind. Being an excellent worker or businessman. Being a blessing to others. Being gentle and compassionate. Being watchful and alert to His leadings. Being supple to His love. The list can go on and on and on.
The experience of Simon in following the will of the Lord was awesome. He fell down on his knees and begged the Lord to depart from him. He must not have been serious when he said, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” He probably doubted Jesus when he said those words. How can a carpenter tell him what to do, he being an expert fisherman. Probably very tired and frustrated at catching nothing, he was humoring Jesus: “O’ sige na nga, at your command Master, I will do what you tell me to do.” Boy, was he surprised at the results of following Jesus!
And so it is with us. To be obedient to the Lord will bring us down to our knees in awe. He is full of surprises at what He can do. Like Simon, the Lord will bless us tremendously if only we allow Him to do so. The question is whether we will allow Him to surprise us by following His will.
While we all strive to be holy and be good, have you consciously made that basic decision to be holy?
Please share that moment when you first made that choice. What was it like?
What obstacles prevent you from making this choice on a daily basis?
What can you do to keep yourself on the path towards holiness?