What exactly does it mean to be holy? What does it look like?

Here’s one to think about it: consider growth in godliness as the sanctification of your body.

  • The mind is filled with the knowledge of God and fixed on what is good.
  • The eyes turn away from sensuality and shudder at the sight of evil.
  • The mouth tells the truth and refuses to gossip, slander, or speak what is coarse or obscene.
  • The spirit is earnest, steadfast, and gentle.
  • The soul rests and rejoices in Jesus.
  • The muscles toil and strive after Christlike virtue.
  • The heart is full of joy instead of hopelessness, patience instead of irritability, kindness instead of anger, and humility instead of pride, thankfulness instead of envy.
  • The sexual organs are pure, being reserved for the privacy of marriage between one man and one woman.
  • The feet move toward the lowly and away from senseless conflict, divisions, and wild parties.
  • The hands are quick to help those in need and ready to fold in prayer.

When I lose track of what holiness is actually about, I try to scan down the body from head to toe and remember what God desires from me. And just as importantly, I need to remember who Christ is and is making me to become.

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Comments:


34 thoughts on “The Anatomy of Holiness”

  1. TW Dover says:

    Very helpful-I especially like the “body scan” visualization. I really profited from your message @ T4G in several ways, but especially the point you made about (paraphrasing) an overwhelming sense of gratitude crowding out and leaving no room for anger, negativity. I will and have spent time with the reality of that in my own heart. BTW- my 4 and 2 year old have recently discovered Underdog from the Casper era ! Resonating brother!

  2. Tom Harmon says:

    And loves to be in fellowship with Christ daily, and loves the fellowship of God’s people in worship and service.

  3. Jeff Swan says:

    Could you please expand on the definition of “wild parties”? I have struggled with this for many years. I certainly don’t like to attend “tame” parties or “dull” parties. I prefer lively parties, whether or not they include beer or wine or cocktails. To me, this is one of the most confusing commands in the New Testament, along with the command to lead a quiet life. Bloggers, commentators, and preachers are not “quiet” – they expound and fire people up. Spurgeon could be heard for miles around. Re parties – what is the “bad” version of a wild party, and what is the “OK” version for people who tend to be Type A, social people? Some people prefer more solitary pursuits, others really want to be around lively people who let their hair down, as it were. Can you expand on this?
    Thanks.

  4. Tom Harmon says:

    Kevin, I think the “wild partying” that is referred to can be taken from at least one passage of scripture I can think of, Rom.13:11-14. I love good clean fun, don’t you? But, when people get “medicated”, they can lose their ability to think clearly, isn’t that true? It then becomes hard to walk in holiness…

  5. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    God give me grace to be free to be holy for His Glory.

  6. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    “•The feet move toward the lowly and away from senseless conflict, divisions”

    Question: Given the recent blog series by Rev. DeYoung on the issues of homosexual license in his denomination, does this issue that he’s taking a stand on count as a reasonable, sensible conflict, and a biblical cause for potential and/or actual division?

  7. Reg Schofield says:

    Is not our holiness completely based on our position in Christ and being conformed to Christ by the Spirits power.I not saying let go and let God , but I have found for myself the more I naval gaze , the more I fail in walking in obedience . However the more I focus on Jesus Christ , his work , his love and his holiness , the more I’m able to turn from sin and seek righteousness. Does that make sense . Over all good points , and I believe there is nothing wrong with self examination , as long as it does not become morbid .

  8. Anonymous says:

    amen. building ourselves up on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping ourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life; having mercy on some, who are doubting; saving others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some having mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep us from stumbling, and to make us stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:20-25

  9. Very good. Thanks for that. I think something ought to be added about faithfulness, which is so often coupled with “steadfast love” in the OT (and faithfulness is a part of real love). And faithfulness is often so lacking today, with the assumption that “love” is merely a sentiment.

  10. Lord, I want to be more holy, in my heart…

  11. Thank you for this, I really needed this reminder.

  12. jason says:

    Amen Brother!

  13. Jonathan says:

    Kevin… Why you up so early?

  14. kyle says:

    Holiness is the outward expression of the inward experience of Christ living in us. Holiness looks like God because only God is holy. Heb 12:10 and 2 Pet 1:4 show we can partake of God’s holiness and partake of God’s nature. This is to partake of God’s nature so that it becomes our constitution. So that we ARE holy because of the divine nature in us.

  15. Chelsea says:

    I really appreciate the practical evaluation of one’s obedience. I’d really like to see the verses you pulled these principles from, because it seems like a good resource. I am especially refreshed by your point that “the soul rests and rejoices in Jesus.” I think this point is crucial, because the more holy (sanctified) we become the less holy we feel. Our joy being in Jesus gives us reason to continue in holiness even when we feel so dirty.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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