Did you know that to “be holy as God is holy” isn’t just something you learn in scripture when you first become a believer so you can be a good person, but that it also actually impacts walking in your purpose?

Everything you do on the outside is shaped by who you are on the inside–either helped or hindered. And when you prepare to walk in your specific purpose, or calling, you have to work on the inner life to be able to get to where you want to be–where God wants you to be–in your outer life.

God’s vision for your life won’t only have details about how it looks to carry out your special calling. God also has vision for all the major areas of your life. You can read more about what God envisions for you in my post What is the Vision from God for Your Life.

And part of that vision involves deepening your spiritual walk, which in turn will empower you to be holy in how you live your life inside and out. Holiness is a key inner life trait that will significantly impact your ability to hear from God, follow His will, and walk effectively in all of His purposes for your life. 

What Does it Mean to Be Holy?

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” ~1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV


Bible with shining light

The Greek word for “holy” in 1 Peter 1:16 is hagios with its meaning described as “in a moral sense, pure, sinless, upright.” I personally love the meaning Google shows from its Oxford Languages definition: “dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred; morally and spiritually excellent.”

And an informal definition of “consecrate” in its verb form is “devote something exclusively to a particular purpose”.


These definitions create a beautiful image of believers living a life devoted to spiritual excellence so we can be dedicated exclusively to God’s purposes for us. This reminds me that “…we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV) God created us specially to be set apart for the purposes He planned for us.

In order to create this type of life, your heart must be wholly devoted to the Lord and not at its core divided between your faith and the flesh, your worship and the world. So though you can’t be perfect, you can cultivate within yourself a love for God “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength(Mark 12:30 NIV) that will draw you closer to Him.

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. ~Psalm 86:11-12 NIV

This intimacy with and love for God will grow through intentionally spending time with Him. As they grow, your desire to do His will will grow, and moment to moment, situation to situation, relationship to relationship, emotion to emotion, you will more naturally lift your eyes up to Him instead of to the desires of the flesh and the world when they don’t align with what is holy.

You will increase in discernment as you continue to grow in your knowledge of God’s will through His Word, renewing your thoughts to align with the mind of Christ, and being obedient to the Spirit’s prompting.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live it in any longer?…For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. ~Romans 6:1-2,6-7 NIV

3 Ways You Drift in Your Purpose When You Drift from Being Holy

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. ~Hebrews 2:1 NIV

We are called to be holy because God is holy. We need to not only reflect the heart of God as far as loving people, but also need to reflect the character of God and have the mind of Christ pursuing holy character and behavior. This is not just because it’s nice to be a good person.

God’s purposes for us involve not just what we do, but who we are becoming – who we were meant to be. And our transformation on the inside affects how we execute our calling on the outside. So we need to be careful how we live and be intentional to grow toward increasing spiritual maturity in our character. 

Otherwise, there can be consequences, domino effects, chain reactions that occur when we drift away from God’s will, wisdom, and ways. And we often drift slowly, blending in with the world in some ways, and may not even notice it happening.

God is the source of your purpose, so you have to be able to hear from and align with His thoughts, His ways. So it’s important to regularly give yourself a character check compared to God’s Word and will.

Below are 3 ways unchecked character can affect you as you try to fulfill your purpose:

  1. Drift away from God’s will – If you’re not truly internalizing the Word so you’re aligned with the principles of God’s Word and will, then you maynot carry out what you’re doing in a God honoring way and possibly lead those following you astray. For example, you might not tell the whole truth or hide things, take part in unethical practices for personal gain, wear immodest dress to gain attention, or use unholy speech to fit in or entertain others.woman sad in mirror because not holy
  2. Drift away from God’s wisdom – If you’re not staying connected with God as the leader of what you do, you might be working outside of the focus God intended, get yourself in problem situations that could have been avoided, or put ahead of God the pursuit of money, power, status, image, fame, or people pleasing. For example, you could move at too fast a pace and get overwhelmed and make avoidable mistakes or quit from burnout. Or you might pour too much money or time into something due to not discerning if the way the world says to do something is actually what God is calling you to do, and then be short of resources. Or perhaps you will trust in people more than God and not say no when you need to, losing focus on God’s will.
  3. Drift away from God’s ways – If you don’t take the time to work on transforming yourself so you reflect the character of God in your attitudes, words, and actions, the way you show up in the world and in lives of others won’t reflect Kingdom values. For example, you could mistreat others in word or action, gossip, share inappropriate jokes, or take part in self-destructive habits due to peer pressure.

3 Reasons to Pursue Holiness as You Pursue Your Purpose

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand. ~Psalm 37:23 NLT

In this midlife season, you’re likely ready to discover your purpose or walk farther along the path of what God has specifically called you to do. And to prepare yourself to fulfill that calling, you might be taking some practical steps to explore or implement. As a woman of faith, you want to carry out God’s will to the best of your ability to be pleasing to Him and bring Him glory.

We definitely can take actions in the flesh and be able to create, launch or participate in something we feel called to do. But it’s even more essential to take action in your spirit to be prepared both in your outer and inner life to focus on all aspects of God’s purposes for you.

Why do we need to be holy as we pursue our purpose?

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray…Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.~ 1 Peter 4:7,10-11 NIV

God’s purpose for your life has 3 different focuses that all impact one another. You can read more about these purposes in 5 Areas to Seek God to Find Purpose as a Christian Woman.

First, we all have a general purpose as believers to love God, love people, be transformed, and make disciples. These acts alone require ever increasing holiness. Second, we also have purposes in the major areas of our daily life. To align with God’s will in some areas of our “being” and “doing”, we also will have to focus on holy living.

And third, we each have a specific purpose, our God-given calling to make a unique difference in the world that we were specially created to make. And to be able to effectively hear from God and walk in His power to transform ourselves and produce fruit to fulfill this purpose, we must become increasingly more holy over time from the inside out.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them…Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. ~Ephesians 5:8-10,15-17 NIV

Below are the 3 primary reasons you need to pursue holiness as you pursue your purpose:

1. Be holy to connect more deeply with Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Come near to God and he will come near to you. ~James 4:8a NIV

God desires for you to use the abilities that He has equipped you with by design to impact the lives of others. To use your gifts to their full potential, which comes through God’s power, you must be intimately connected to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And the more intimacy you have with the Lord, the more you will be naturally drawn to be more holy in character and behavior. And the more your character and behavior aligns with God’s will, the more effective an instrument you will be for the Lord.

You must be able to discern what is and isn’t in God’s nature and will. Your spirit, heart, and mind must be receptive to hear, see, and sense if, when, where, and how God is speaking hands on Bible praying to be holyand the Spirit is leading. If your soul is entangled with a habit of welcomed or ignored unconfessed sin of the heart, mind or body, you will struggle to receive direction from God easily or clearly. And God’s power will be more difficult to tap into for certain endeavors until you begin to address the sin.

Pursuing holiness is a journey. Sometimes you will be right on track growing in an area. Other times you might take a couple of steps back or stumble altogether. But the sum total of your steps should be forward moving toward being more of who God is calling you to be and doing more of what God is calling you to do in your life.

Below are 3 practical steps to walk more closely with God to persevere on your path of holiness:

  1. Be intentional – Sometimes you can lose focus of being intentional in spiritual character transformation as you focus so much on practical life transformation. So as you write a vision and goals for your life, be sure to include the vision of who God wants you to be on the inside and the goals that will help you to grow in that direction. Prayerfully choose small doable action steps that focus on Biblical character development and track your progress, seeking support if you are stuck in an unhealthy or unholy pattern of thinking or behavior. Keep your intentions visible with supporting verses and visit them regularly in prayer and planning. Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained… ~Proverbs 29:18a NASB
  2. Be connected – Stay connected to Father, Son and Holy Spirit in prayer, as well as Bible reading, study, and meditation. Knowledge will help with discernment. Intimacy will help with decisions. God is with you all the time, so talk to Him and look to sense His presence throughout your day so that you can create a lifestyle of every choice being made together with Him. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:7-8 NIV) Also being in relationships with other Christians who are striving to live a godly life can help you to see positive examples in areas you struggle, as well as to get support and accountability as needed.
  3. Be submitted – Make up your mind in advance every day that whatever comes your way, you will defer to the Word, wisdom, and will of God. If you know that a certain situation comes up all the time that causes you to stray from God’s will, prepare ahead of time by seeking God’s strength and wisdom so you are ready to work on managing it in a more godly manner. And when sudden or unexpected temptation comes to say or do what doesn’t align with godly principles, practice immediately submitting yourself and the situation to God. In time, this will become more of your default response. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. ~James 4:7-8a NIV

Overall, having a desire and focus for whatever you do to represent and honor God as part of worshipping Him with your life is the key to pursuing holiness even in the face of temptation. And when the desire doesn’t yet exist, making a decision to still choose to do what God would desire as you build strength in that area is essential.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~Colossians 3:17 NIV

2. Be holy so your prayers will not be hindered

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. ~James 5:16b NIV


Christian woman praying to be holyPrayer is a necessary form of two-way communication between you and God so that you can receive wisdom, direction and confirmation as you pursue your purpose.

When unholy thoughts and behaviors are allowed to take root in your life such that they become habits and you are not actively confessing and seeking to change them, these areas of sin hinder your prayers for your life and prayers for your purpose.

Isaiah 59:2 NIV states the effects of sin: But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. And 1 Peter 3:12 NIV gives insight into how our prayers are affected when we become ensnared in sin: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

When you are entangled in the world and in sin, it may hinder your relationship with God and prayers because…

  • You may begin to withdraw from time with God because of fleshly desires, guilt or shame.
  • You may begin to believe the lie that you are unworthy of being used by God because you are stuck and give up seeking your purpose.
  • You may lose focus altogether of what you should be praying for as you are distracted by the ungodly noise in your mind and desires in your heart.
  • You could possibly not even be aware of God trying to answer prayer or guide you out of your situation due to your mind’s focus on the flesh or the world.
  • Your prayers for some things may not be answered because God is waiting on you and urging you to draw near to Him so that you can be transformed and prepared to walk in what He is calling you to do. In other words, you may be praying for one thing, but your prayer focus really needs to be related to breaking the chains of sin in your life so that you can be free and ready to receive what else you are praying for and walk effectively in what God is calling you to do.

Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! ~Psalm 66:16-20 NIV

In Psalm 66, we see that what was cherished in the heart is what affected prayers to God. None of us are perfect. We all will always have sin to overcome in our lives. Paul wrote, “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” (Romans 7:21 NIV) But it is the attitude of the heart that matters.

So the good news is that even if you have been stuck in sin instead of focusing on how God is calling you to be holy, God is always with you, waiting for you to turn that part of your heart toward Him and away from your sin so that He can use your gifts even more for His glory. Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. ~Proverbs 28:13-14 NIV

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ~1 John 1:5-9 NIV

3. Be holy so you don’t dim your light as a witness for Christ

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:16 NIV

You’re called to shine your light and make disciples. You not only share the gospel to do this, but also model the heart and love of God, as well as the transformation that’s possible in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tables of stone but on tablets of human hearts. ~2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NIV

Christian woman shining light of holiness

The attitude someone experiences, words someone hears, or behavior someone sees may be their first or only impression of the Christian life. So you have to be careful to intentionally shine your light. 

God is a loving God, but is also a holy God. And the same way we reflect His love, we are to reflect His holiness. Each of us will struggle in different areas of life depending on our childhood, beliefs, values, life experiences, and social circles.

But there are some common areas that need special attention since they tend to be easier to fall into due to the atmosphere of the world in which we live.

Below are 3 ways we are called to be holy, as well as some typical related areas in which you can easily shift from shining to dimming your light. And when this happens, it hinders you effectively walking in God’s purposes for you:

Practice holiness in all you think

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. ~Ephesians 4:22-23 NIV

Examine the attitudes of your mind to prevent…

  • Judging others – You of course do have knowledge, wisdom and discernment to understand when other people are not where they need to be. But as a believer you still must follow God’s lead in your response. And making prideful judgments of other people, lifting yourself up above them, gets in the way of you reflecting God’s love and grace for others. Always search yourself to “get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in you friend’s eye”. (Matthew 7:5 NLT)
  • Entertaining ungodly thoughts – With every click and scroll of a device, you’re at risk of being exposed to so many unholy messages of sight, sound and situation. You must not allow these to take up residence inside your heart and mind. “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come…” (Mark 7:21a NIV), and when these thoughts take root and grow, the world begins to change you instead of you changing the world.

Practice holiness in all you speak

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29 NIVFor, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.” (1 Peter 3:10 NIV)

Examine the words of your mouth to avoid…

  • Complaining – Understand the fine line between expressing your feelings and complaining, and rather focus on thanksgiving. Build a habit of listening to and reflecting on the words you are speaking to yourself and to others. You can even ask those you share with regularly and openly if they notice you having a struggle in this area. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure… ~Philippians 2:14-15a NIV
  • Lying – Even though you may fear being truthful in some situations, the Word tells us to “keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies”. (Psalm 34:13 NIV) Sometimes doing what’s right takes courage and it’s important to practice “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15 NIV) by praying for wisdom for how to handle delicate situations where the words you say have consequences or can hurt others.
  • Profanity and coarse joking – The intent of your thoughts and speech matter just as much as the actual words spoken or actions taken, as we see in Matthew 5:28 NIVBut I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So when the Word says, “Nor should there be foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place” (Ephesians 5:4 NIV), this means that euphemisms or softer words for profanity and borderline immoral jokes also need to be eliminated from our thinking and speech. Examine the intent of the words you say. Just because it isn’t the actual inappropriate word or phrase, the intent and meaning of the comment can still be the same as the original. You don’t want to be the “generic version” of an “evil brand”. So before you phrase your statements or share your jokes, ask yourself if you would tell it to Jesus as you plan to in meaning and wording, and that should help you discern if it’s holy.

Practice holiness in all you do

Like a city that is broken into and without walls so is a person who has no self-control over his spirit. ~Proverbs 25:28 NASB

Examine the boundaries of your morals related to…

  • Behaviors – When we get comfortable in the culture, it’s easy to fall into step with what those in our circles or those we look up to are doing. God is a loving God, but is also a holy God. And the same way we reflect His love, we are to reflect His holiness. The Word states, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…Get rid of…every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:30a NIV)  “But among you, there must not be even a hint…of any kind of impurity…because these are improper for God’s holy people.” (Ephesians 5:3 NIV)
  • Influences –  Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV) In addition to the people you spend time with, the company you keep can also also include videos and shows that you watch, music you listen to, images you look at, and books you read. All of these things if unholy can start to desensitize your mind such that you are at risk of unwholesome things competing and possibly even overtaking godly thoughts and habits.

All of these areas mentioned above can hinder walking in God’s purposes for you because you won’t stand out from the world as an example of His transformation of your character. And your soul will be torn between God and the world, making it more difficult to discern and align with God’s thoughts and ways.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are you ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ~Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

You won’t regret replacing the old with the new

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. ~Hebrews 12:1-12a NIV

There may be some concern of missing out on some feelings or connections in your life as you continue to let go of the old self and life and embrace the newness of more holy living in Christ.

Especially if you are a new believer, you may feel a discomfort in walking away from mindsets of the flesh and habits of the world. After all, you wouldn’t likely have them in your life if they didn’t have some sort of payoff, such as feeling good to do it or feeling accepted by others because of doing it. So sometimes you might worry that you’ll miss the old and that the new might not feel so good or leave you longing for more.

woman smiling thinking of holy livingI learned early in my Christian walk that each time I’ve ever surrendered more of myself and my life to God by letting go of something ungodly in my thoughts or behaviors, the Lord will replace any temporary gap in pleasure I may have felt with more fulfillment than I could have asked for through Him and new godly focuses.

I also learned that if I was criticized or lost any relationships in the process of transformation, in time He also brought new people into my life for genuine love and connection.

The closer you get to God, the more your desires will become His desires. You will be filled with more joy from the fellowship with the Spirit and more fulfillment from the new holy desires He will bless your life with. Trust in the LORD and do good…Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:3a,4 NIV)

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18-19 NIV)

So there is no need to worry that you will regret letting go of something when you move closer to more holy living. More important than worldly losses of pleasure is making sure you don’t allow spiritual losses of wisdom and power that can affect your purpose.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. ~Romans 8:5 NIV

No matter what parts of yourself or your life you’re still working on surrendering to the Lord, you can “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. (Romans 12:2 NIVFor by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14 NIV) So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV)

If you want to receive blog posts, videos, and resources to help you to align with God’s will for your inner and outer life so you can discover and walk in His purposes for you, I invite you to subscribe to my blog and receive my free gift to you. The Purposeful Living Assessment & Reflections Guide will help you assess the major areas of your life to see where you need to align more closely with God’s will for you, and then prayerfully reflect with God to plan doable next steps to get closer to His vision for you.

When you desire to walk in your God-given purpose, and you take both spiritual and practical steps toward becoming the person you’re called to be and doing the things you’re called to do, it changes everything…from the inside out.