Whenever my daughters disobey my wife or me, something changes in our relationship. It’s not dissolved—they’re still my kids. But on the other hand, neither is the relationship improved. The unholiness of sin blocks the wonderful fellowship we previously enjoyed.

Personal holiness (or the lack thereof) is a quality which affects not only our fellowship with others, but our fellowship with God. It should be the Christian’s goal to pursue holiness, or a set-apart life. I’m not talking about a self-righteous, legalistic, be-sure-to-do-this-but-don’t-do-this type of lifestyle. Rather, I’m referring to the heart which says, “I love God and want to do what He says, but I can’t. Therefore, I’m going to let Christ do it in me as I walk close to Him and allow Him to make me holy.”

This holiness cannot be obtained by standing still. Holiness is not some plateau we reach when we have “arrived” spiritually. It must be a daily, earnest, persistent pursuit.

As with the pursuit of peace, some obstacles threaten to hinder our quest for holiness. The primary threat to holiness and a right relationship with God is broken relationships. We cannot enjoy fellowship with God until we’re right with other people. This doesn’t mean we need to strive for others’ approval—we’ll never get everyone to like, respect, or appreciate us, and it’s not worth the effort—but we must root out bitterness and forgive others. Only when we get real and obediently yield ourselves to God can He produce holiness within us.

Dear Lord, I accept the fact I can’t be holy by myself. Help me today to walk close to You and be holy.

No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part. — Jerry Bridges

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.