Live as obedient children before God. Don’t let your character be moulded by the desires of your ignorant days, but be holy in every department of your lives, for the one who has called you is himself holy. The scripture says: ‘Be holy, for I am holy’. (JBP)
Not many of us hear others calling us holy. We rarely see ourselves as holy. The word has a sense of being other-worldly, of being some sort of super-saint utterly separate from everyday affairs of the world.
And so it is one of numerous examples where a biblical word is somehow lost in translation. To be holy is to be set apart, to be dedicated to God. But not set apart or dedicated in the sense of being cut off from the world. God is holy, is set apart, and is in a sense dedicated to pursuing his own glory (which is not shallow egotism!).
And yet this holy God engages with his world. He is not aloof in splendid isolation. So we, who are to imitate his holiness, are to display that holiness in everyday life. I don’t show my holiness by ceasing to be a worker in an office or giving up family life to be a hermit. I am to be a holy parent or spouse or friend. I am to be a holy tradesperson or CEO. I am to be holy as I do the shopping or tidy the house or fix the car.
Holiness is shown in the fact that we do and say and think things that honour God and mark us out as positively different in doing so. Holiness is not withdrawal from the world but engagement with the world in a way which pleases God and blesses others. Holiness gets its hands dirty.