The Call to Holiness
By Cameron Silsbee
Begin with prayer
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Read this overview
Church culture is full of words that people use, but are rarely defined. These words are tossed around with the assumption that everyone understands what they mean. In reality, people use these words in ways that contradict one another, or in a religious catchphrase kind of way – devoid of any real definition and lacking substance.
The word “holy” is one of these kinds of words. There’s the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible. God is holy. According to the Scriptures we’re supposed to be holy as well, a quality that is apparently shared between God, a book, and us. This word “holy” is usually synonymous with concepts like moral perfection or sinlessness. But that’s only one implication of the word “holy.”
In the Scriptures, “holy” describes a state of being that is set apart, unique, different. That is what we are called to be. One of the ways we are to be holy does have to do with our behaviour and our struggle against the flesh. It also has to do with living as the people of God, in community with one another. Embodying something unique. Together we are to be a holy people who act, think, and believe differently than the world around us.
That’s no easy task – we need each other’s help to do it.
Talk through the following discussion questions:
- What are some internal things (wiring, upbringing, current season of life) that make pursuing holiness difficult for you?
- What are some external things (cultural pressures, relationships, work/school/role) that make pursuing holiness difficult for you?
Do this Practice now as a Community:
Have one person invite God’s Spirit to speak to each of you. Take a few minutes to listen and reflect on your life as it is today. Bring to mind areas of your life where your holiness (remember the full definition of this word) is floundering, stuck, or losing ground. Things like:
- Values that don’t line up with God’s Kingdom (e.g. consumerism, political idolatry, entertainment/distraction, priorities, etc.)
- Behavior and choices that are flagrantly against the way of Jesus
- Avoidance of pain, brokenness, or responsibility
- Apathy or despair or isolation
- A deep struggle or unwillingness to actively trust God
The goal here isn’t to heap on the guilt, shame, or feelings of defilement that can accompany a lack of holiness in our lives. The goal is to invite those around us to support, encourage, and help hold us accountable to the call of holiness so that we can be a community that is set apart.
When you’ve spent time listening, go around the group and share what’s come to mind about where your holiness is lacking or struggling. It could be helpful to split into gender-specific groups for this time. Be as vague or as specific as you’re comfortable with and as is appropriate within your group.
Talk about this week’s Practice as a Community:
This week, take time to pray for one another. Have everyone commit to pray for one other person in the group (make sure everyone has someone praying for them). Set aside 2-3 times in the next week to pray specific things for this person’s life and holiness. If you’re up for it, take the opportunity during these times of prayer to listen to God’s Spirit on behalf of the person and share anything you think the Spirit is leading you to do.