Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10.

Holiness is not the perfection of human goodness. When God says He is holy, He means He is different. God’s holy difference is one of His highest attributes; His holy difference from humanity is what distinguishes Him from all the gods of this world. As Isaiah 40:25 declares, “‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.” Truly, there is no one like our God. He alone is God, and this is why holiness is good.

The people of this world don’t want a God who is holy though; they want a god who is just like them. They want a god who approves of their lifestyle, who winks at their sin, whom they can manipulate. A holy God troubles their conscience because He condemns sin and requires repentance, for His way is the only way. His holy way is altogether different but altogether good—if only we would humble ourselves and embrace it. You see, our God loves to welcome repentant sinners. He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross to atone for our sin once and for all—Jesus became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (see 2 Corinthians 5:21).

The Lord will not look the other way when it comes to our sin. Jesus calls every would-be disciple to pick up their cross and follow Him. He calls them to embrace the Truth, the narrow way of righteous living. God will not set aside His holiness but rather calls us to set aside our sin and be holy as He is holy—to be washed in the blood of His Son and walk by His Spirit. He invites us into a new life.

You see, whenever anyone encounters the holiness of God, far from accepting sin, whether in our lives or the lives of others, far from blessing or tolerating sin, far from feeling self-righteous, we are undone in our sense of unworthiness. The holy, sovereign God’s will for you is that you be set apart and sanctified (see 1 Thessalonians 4:3). An encounter with a totally different, holy God will transform you into the image of Christ—making you different.

Though this world would have us believe that holiness is worthy of scorn, it is really the best of things. By walking in holiness, we become more like our heavenly Father, and with our very lives we reveal His wondrous difference—His faithful lovingkindness, justice, mercy, grace, and more—to the world around us.

Prayer: Lord, I long to be holy as You are holy. Give me wisdom to apply Your Word rightly in my life. I want to walk in Your ways and grow in Christlikeness, clinging to Your grace and trusting that You are at work in my heart. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:2).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series Discipleship 101: WATCH NOW

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About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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