The word “holy” is used a lot in scripture, but I find that many people miss the true meaning of that word. The Greek word ἅγιος (holy) means to be set apart for a special purpose. I am a fly fisherman. In tying a fly, I’ve learned to include some flash or color to get the fish’s attention. In the same way, God’s people are meant to get the world’s attention through our exemplary lives. That’s what was behind God’s regulations and civil laws for Israel in Exodus and Leviticus. They were to be a people set apart for God.
We see the same thing in the New Testament where Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The apostle Peter, writing to a church that was violently persecuted, addressed this, too. “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12). The good and exemplary living of God’s people is meant to attract attention in a world where hatred, violence, and self-centeredness can seem to rule the day. Michael Frost, in his book Surprise the World exhorts believers to live “questionable” lives. Do you live in such radical, compassionate, others-centered ways that people ask questions and begin to associate you with the Lord Jesus?
How can living differently be attractive to a watching world? Is it ever unattractive?
What people has God sovereignly put around you who could benefit from seeing you live more fully and radically like Jesus? What can you do?