Called to Be Holy
by Peggy Musgrove
Paul told Timothy: “You are called to a holy life” (2 Timothy 1:9), and that’s what I was told when I committed my life to Jesus at age 19. I knew it was the right thing to do because of my teaching. I had no idea the meaning of living a holy life, though I’ve learned a lot in the last 65 years.
Through the centuries, the holy life has been defined in different ways. Some have denounced all worldly life and gone to the desert to pursue holiness. The extreme opposite position came from a young man of my acquaintance. Holiness, he explained, is our position in Christ that we have by faith. Therefore nothing we do or say is sinful because positionally, in Christ, we are holy.
As a wife and mom, I couldn’t escape to the desert. The other definition conflicted with my view of Scripture, so I have spent a lifetime in pursuit of the holy.
Early on, I found some basic principles which became spiritual habits of life - as basic as the health habits my mother taught me. You know - brush your teeth, eat vegetables and go to bed early.
So many years have passed, I don’t remember when I developed my habit of personal Bible study. But this habit has been the foundation of my life, not only spiritually, but also mentally and relationally. The Bible teaches us how to prepare for eternity, and how to live while we are still on this planet.
As the Word became alive in my life, the desire to talk with God emerged. My personal prayer life began with prayers as simple as a baby’s first sounding of syllables. I truly did not know how to pray - but as I have continued this holy habit, God has been faithful to hear and respond.
These two habits are the “brush your teeth, eat your vegetables” of the spiritual life. When these habits become habitual, we develop other holy habits. We become sharing people--tithing and giving to the needy; we become communal people—worshipping and sharing life with other believers; we become caring people—involved in evangelism and outreach; we become hopeful people—living for both time and eternity.
I have learned the constant vigilance needed after making our habits habitual. We can become so accustomed to spiritual routines we do them without involving our mind and heart. We see this in Scripture; we have seen it in ourselves and others. For this reason I Corinthians 11:28 instructs us to examine ourselves when we take communion—a holy habit to see that are other holy habits are still holy!