As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
— 1 Peter 1:15–16
Be holy. Ok, right. Holy. I, who have fallen short of holiness in a hundred ways over the past week alone. Be holy in all your conduct. Just not gonna happen. It’s not that I don’t want to. (Although there are definitely moments when my “want to” is seriously lacking.) It’s that, as I get older, I am becoming more and more aware just how short I fall. Holiness is not just about what I don’t do. It’s not just about being good. Holiness is also about being different. It’s about taking risks to protect the vulnerable. It’s about having eyes to see what’s going on with people that God puts in my path today. It’s about being intentional with my time, my money, my thoughts. Oh, I fall woefully short of holiness.
Yet, as I grow increasingly aware of my own shortcomings, I am also getting more and more sensitive to the presence and power of grace. I can see it everywhere now. When I am able to say the loving thing, even though defensiveness is rising up, that’s grace. When compassion outweighs condemnation in my own head, that’s grace. When I find the courage to speak up for what I believe, even though everything in me is shouting, “Shut up, stupid! They’ll never listen to you!” that’s grace. Every time I am able to be more than what I can be on my own, it’s grace. I see it in other Christians, too. I see them growing, struggling against the powers of darkness that want to consume them. I see them fighting against the lies of the enemy that want to take them out and make them or their ministries small. And it’s grace that’s empowering them. It’s beautiful. It’s not perfect, but it’s absolutely breath-taking to witness the battle.
In the Old Testament, God fought for his people. Seas crashed down on Egyptian armies. City walls crashed down at the sound of trumpets. The sun stood still. A giant army was defeated by a small band of men with torches and empty jars. A giant soldier was defeated with a sling and a stone. And it was grace that empowered it all. In the New Testament, God still fought for his people. The sick were healed. The dead were raised to life. A persecutor was transformed into a proclaimer of the good news of Jesus Christ. That good news spread like wildfire across continents, to Jews and Gentiles alike. Shackles fell off, and prison doors were opened. And it was grace that empowered it all. Today, God still fights for his people. Every day, people who were blind to the truth of Jesus begin to see for the first time. Every day, people who were dead in their transgressions are raised to new life as they trust him as their Lord and Savior. Every day, Christians find the strength to admit secrets that have haunted them for decades. Every day, they stand in the gap and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. And it is grace that empowers it all.
Today, will you recognize the presence and power of grace when you encounter it? Today, will you set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ? It has the power to transform you into a different person. A person who is becoming more and more like Jesus, who is becoming more and more holy, as He is holy. By His grace, because of His sacrifice, for His glory, you and I are becoming holy.