Practicing Holiness Daily

A Genesis church preaches holiness regularly and practices holiness daily.

It had been a long day at the office.  I had some conflicts with some co-workers and a misunderstanding with my boss.  Several unplanned interruptions had caused me to never get into a rhythm with the huge tasks on my to-do list.

Finally at home, I lied down on the sofa with a great sigh, exhausted.  I started to read the news, trying to forget all of the frustrations of the day.

My kids, 4- and 2-years old at the time, were running around crashing their toy cars and making an inordinate amount of noise.  I acted like I could not hear them and buried my eyes in the newspaper.

My wife was in the kitchen preparing supper and somehow attempting to corral two rowdy toddlers so that they didn’t destroy the place.  “Thank the Lord for my wonderful wife,” I thought.  “She’s amazing.”

And I went on reading.

She had worked in the office the same amount of hours as I had that day.  She had told me just earlier that she had a headache.  She did not collapse on the couch like I did.  She went straight to fixing the meal and taking care of our kids.

Something told me I should get up and help her in the kitchen.  “But I would just be a hindrance,” I rationalized.  “I’m terrible at cooking.”

Another twinge of conscience said I should at least play with the kids so that they were not bothering their mother.  “But I deserve some ‘me’ time,” I fought back.  “No one knows the stuff I’ve had to go through today.”

I had preached and taught on servanthood and sacrifice dozens of times to different congregations.  I had written devotionals and articles on holiness.  But my words were not coinciding with my action – or inaction – as I read the paper and defended my entitled ego.

Have you ever had moments like that? Instances where your actions did not measure up to the eloquent platitudes you had spoken? Times where you acted one way in one place and completely different in another?

The fifth characteristic of a Genesis church is that it preaches holiness regularly and practices holiness daily.  It is a combination of talking the talk and walking the walk.  We are to passionately inspire adults, teens, and yes – even children – with our distinctive message of holiness.  And yet we must also live that out at work, at home, and in our communities.

Holiness is known by many names in many circles.  Entire sanctification.  The second work of grace.  Dying to oneself.  Purity of heart and life.  Total surrender.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit.

But maybe the easiest way to understand and sum up holiness is:


I am stunned at how little we speak of holy living in our churches.  I am astonished at how many of our people think they must live constantly in sin.  I am aghast to hear that some believe this is a peripheral concept in our theology, something that we touch on once every few years or so.

Dr. Louie Bustle, former Global Mission Director for the Church of the Nazarene, once told me that 90% of his sermons he preached on holiness.  He grabbed my arm to make sure he had my attention.  “If our people do not comprehend the victory Christ offers, everything else we preach will be little more than self-help remedies.”

Perhaps the reason we preach so little on holiness is because we have seen it so seldom in practice.  Board members who argue venomously about the color of the carpet and tear down the pastor behind his back.  Older adults who say they have been to the altar twice and don’t ever need to go back (thus implying they have no areas for growth).  Pastoral leadership that defines holiness by what you wear or don’t wear and how often you come to church.  All of these cause confusion among our people and serve to dilute the powerful message with which we have been entrusted!

How often does your church preach and teach intentionally on holiness?

Are conflicts dealt with in your church in a manner that exemplifies holy thinking and acting?

Do people in your congregation truly believe they can be like Christ and live without sin?

I put the paper down.  I was ashamed at my selfishness and at how lazy of a husband and dad I was being.  I rolled over onto the floor and started to wrestle with my rambunctious son and daughter.  I picked them up and carried them into the kitchen.  With my kids squirming and giggling under my arms, I said to Emily, “The three of us want to know if we can help in any way.”

Tired, but smiling, she said, “I got dinner if you got those two rascals.”

I took them out of the kitchen and we continued to play.  I knew even though I had finally done the right thing, that there were actually three of us rascals.  The one acting like Christ all along was starting to set the table.


A Genesis church preaches holiness regularly and practices holiness daily.


- Scott Armstrong, missionary in the Church of the Nazarene