Worship Through Holiness

Open Your Bible

Leviticus 20:7-8, Isaiah 1:11-20, 1 Peter 2:1-10, James 1:19-27

In third grade I got called to the principal’s office for saying an inappropriate word. In my defense, someone had written it on the chair in front of me, and I was reading it aloud to my friend. As I made the trek from my classroom to the office, I remember my heart beating through my chest and tears running down my face. “Failure!” That’s what I heard over and over again in my mind, and I hated it. I never wanted to experience that feeling again—and a perfectionist started growing in me.

When I met Jesus, my tendency toward perfectionism collided with my sinfulness, which then re-collided with the call on my life to be “holy” with my thoughts and actions. I don’t think I am alone in this struggle, and my prayer today is to break this whole “holiness” thing down and learn together how to worship God through it.

Leviticus chapter 20 speaks to this call to holiness: “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am the LORD your God” (v.7). In this passage, God warns His people to stay far away from cultural practices that are not of Him. God lays it out very simply: If what is going on around us is not of Him, then we need to stay away from it, to stand apart from what the world is doing—not simply because we have to, but because we want to, as an act of worship. We are called to live holy lives because we love God enough to trust that what He asks of us is for our good and His glory.

It seems simple, right? We worship God by standing apart. But how do we stand apart?

We find the answer in the next verse, which says, “Keep my statutes and do them” (Leviticus 20:8a). At the onset, we might get stuck on that fact that we can’t possibly keep all of His statutes on our own; we will always fall short and fail. Instead, we need to step into God’s infinite grace and mercy to see how He finishes the verse for us: “I am the LORD who sets you apart” (Leviticus 20:8b).

In these places of perfectionism and failure, I sense God whispering to me, “Sweet child, you worship me through holiness by coming to me over and over again and allowing Me to make you clean.” This is why Jesus came: to make us holy and bring us back into right relationship with God. He has chosen us to be His own and calls us holy now, today. Out of His great mercy, He called us out of the darkness of sin and into freedom in Him (1 Peter 2:9–10).

What God asks of us is to do more than just hear and receive His word; we are to put our faith into action (James 1:22). He asks that we also pursue holiness and “rid [ourselves] of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander” (1 Peter 2:1). In doing so, we “present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is [our] true act of worship” (Romans 12:1, emphasis mine).

This is our true act of worship: to submit ourselves daily to our loving God, and to consecrate every part of our lives to Him and His ways. We are to set our actions apart from the ways of this world, because He has chosen us and has already set us apart for Himself.

Even this we cannot do this apart from the Holy Spirit in us. Let us then worship God freely, hands raised high and hearts wide open, knowing that both the holiness we possess and the holiness we pursue, He has made possible in us.

Maria Furlough is a wife and a mother to one amazing 11-year-old daughter, three rambunctious boys, and one baby boy who lives in the arms of Jesus. Formerly a full-time youth pastor, Maria now teaches women’s Bible studies and works as the Missions Team leader at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville, North Carolina. Maria is the author of Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for You Anxious Heart and Confident Moms, Confident Daughters. You can find Maria on Instagram or Facebook @MariaFurlough or online at www.mariafurlough.com.

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46 thoughts on "Worship Through Holiness"

  1. Ada McCloud says:

    At time I have worried about the mistakes I have made, about the sins I have committed, thinking that I have “lost” my salvation. But God. Jesus. And Grace.

  2. Leslie Green-Starr says:

    Absolutely loving this study ❤️

  3. ILIANA CANALS says:

    DAY 8: Loving God is not a religion but a relationship between you & him. We praise him in worship to show our love for him, that’s why we raise our hands to glorify his name. I feel the most connected with God during my worship to him and praying in between, it’s the best feeling ever when you can feel the Holy Spirit!

  4. Chanika Colbert says:

    Man! Did this ALL hit me hard in all the necessary ways for me to hear it. To truly listen and hear it.

  5. Bri Tieperman says:

    Love this! Submit ourselves daily to our loving God! Anger does not accomplish Gods righteousness, let it go. We are Gods people, all desiring the pure milk of the word❤️

  6. Michelle Turner says:

    I decided to switch the version I read this morning to The Message to get a different perspective on the passage from Isaiah. It’s powerful!! God doesn’t want us to just APPEAR holy—He calls us to BE holy! I always thought it was impossible. I asked God how I could possibly be holy like He is holy. Now I know that Christ living in me MAKES me holy. If I forget, it doesn’t make me less holy. Christ is in me and you, making us holy day by day.

  7. Kirsten Murphy says:

    Loving each day of this plan!

  8. Angela says:

    Nicole, I am not a Bible expert by any means but I figured I would maybe try to help answer your question. I think the physical side of offering our bodies as a sacrifice may be our attitudes, our actions, what we say and what we do. God doesn’t ask for burnt offerings any more as He did in the Old Testament but He does ask that we give our whole hearts and lives completely to Him. Hope that helps a little. I also fully recommend a study Bible. That helped me a lot as I started studying the Bible more. ❤️

  9. Heather Hull says:


  10. Heather Hull says:

    Thank you

  11. Heidi Jones says:

    I needed this today…I am a second time momma as of 5 weeks ago…first bio child but second baby as we have a 12 month old who we received as a foster baby at five days. The part that spoke to me was the part that we need to come to God over and over again so He can make us clean. Lately I have felt like a failure as a mom because life is hard when you have two one and under. I am not as patient when I am running on little to no sleep but I am so thankful for His abundant grace!! I NEED Jesus!! But for some reason my relationship with Him is often the last thing on my list when it needs to be first!

  12. Nicole Stone says:

    Present our bodies. I know he means mental spiritual choices. But is there any real physical body part to it?
    My Bible and word knowledge is like at children bible level. Super new to my personal walk.

  13. Nicole Savage says:

    I’ve loved these studies! They’ve truly helped me get back into the word and understand them deeply and purely again. This is really vulnerable, but I need some prayer. I have struggled severely with anxiety and insecurities and fear. It is affecting my new marriage and all of my relationships. I have idolized perfection and not being good enough and all of the fears that come with that. I don’t know how to live freely in the love of God even though I know I am saved. I have tried to pray and to fix myself and find counseling but I truly believe that God is the only one who can take it from me. And that’s what I need, for him to take that weight and set me free. I want to live in holiness and full worship of our God without this ache and worry. I want to trust in the God who is for me.
    I’m so thankful for this community and the writers here. This has been changing everything for me.

  14. BeckyB says:

    I agree with you, Jennifer! Churchmouse, I read with the community here everyday but always search the comments for your insights. You need a blog–your wisdom is such an inspiration for me. Thank you!!

  15. Heather Brown says:

    Thank you for this devotional. This morning I am pressing into the Lord with a surrendered heart knowing that I – ME can do no part of this consecration. I need to look to him to make me clean and go multiple times through the day to His thrown with open hands letting go of control. Lord humble my tangled and complicated heart!!!

  16. Cindi H says:

    Beautiful Angie and amen! Thank you for sharing

  17. Karen says:

    Praying today for Jessica’s friend Angelina, that she would desire to draw close to the God who loves her and is with her despite her doubting and disbelieving heart. I praise God that she has a trusting friend in Jessica and pray that God can use her to show His deep love for her. I have seen God transform people’s heart, often after many years of prayer and waiting, towards Him-anything is possible with our God!

    Also lifting Ashley and Emma up in prayer as they minister to young minds and start off the new school year. What a blessing you both are to be teaching our children and helping to guide them on their journey of life. May you know the presence of God is with you each and every day and may He give you the strength, courage, and patience you need for each day, each situation, each child throughout the year. God bless you!

  18. Rochelle among the myrtles says:

    These scriptures are exactly what I needed today as I’ve been praying about a decision . The Lord just confirmed what I should do as I’ve been weeping in prayer over the state of our culture and the culture of death we are presently in. I’m so thankful for my Heavenly Father of Lights who brings clarity and truth to every situation we encounter. We serve an awesome God.

  19. Natasha R says:

    Obedience is an act of worship. I never looked at it that way before!

  20. Aimee D says:

    Amen to continued sanctification through Christ!

  21. Margaret says:

    “If what is going on around us is not of Him, then we need to stay away from it, to stand apart from what the world is doing—not simply because we have to, but because we want to, as an act of worship.”
    An act of worship…..what a beautiful way to to look at obedience and holiness. We are set apart to worship and praise Him….in all things. Not to show the world how amazing WE are, but how amazing HE is.

  22. Kelly Chataine says:

    I am encouraged to and want to encourage others to grow in excellence and to live selflessly, at one and the same time to lose the self and find the self (if self is wrapped in Jesus). It is paradoxical, but it is not impossible.

  23. Jessica says:

    I wanted to ask, if anyone is moved to do so, could you please pray salvation for my friend Angelina? I’ve come here before to request prayers on her behalf when she was struggling with severe depression which caused her to lose her faith, and I really believed that if she experienced healing, she would see God’s hand of kindness in her life and believe again. But even though she’s coping with her depression a lot better now and experiencing a lot of good things she never expected for herself, she still doesn’t believe in God.

    Over the past year, I’ve seen her transition from an “I want to believe but I can’t” type of doubt to an “I don’t believe anymore and I’m better off for it” mindset and it really pains me to see this happening. With each day it feels more and more unlikely that she’ll come (return?) to faith but I know that nothing is impossible with God so I still have a thread of hope. And I’d really appreciate prayer for her. Thank you all so much.

    1. Susan Merritt says:

      You are such a great friend!

  24. Krysstal Reindorp says:

    Hallelujah for the Cross.

  25. Emma says:

    Asking for prayers. This week I am heading back to school as a teacher. Each year brings anxiety- not because I don’t love it (I do!) but because I am a worrier. Please pray for me and my students. I want them to know that they are cherished, and I want to be the teacher that God wants me to be. Please pray that I can leave my perfectionist ways behind me- which will be long and grueling. No classroom is perfect. I am so thankful for this online community. Praying for all of you today.

    1. Ashley P. says:

      I’m also a teacher and am feeling the exact same way! We have a new principal this year also, which adds to my anxiety. But I’m working to have faith and trust God is with me and goes before me, like it says in Psalm 139:8–“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” I’m praying for us both this morning, along with our students and their parents.

    2. Ashley P. says:

      I’m also a teacher and am feeling the exact same way! We have a new principal this year also, which adds to my anxiety. But I’m working to have faith and trust God. He is with us and goes before us, like it says in Psalm 139:8–“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” I’m praying for us both this morning, along with our students and their parents. ❤️

    3. Cara Yates says:

      Awww! Sweet teachers. Your dedication, hard work, sacrifice, love. Our good Father sees you and knows your struggles. Praying a blessing over you ladies today. I love Ashley’s verse in Psalm 139. What a great reminder He is with us all the time. Praying you will feel his presence; that you will have strength and energy; that you will cast your worries and cares on him. Have a great school year!

  26. Angie says:

    I just finished a book written by the owner of Hobby Lobby titled, “Giving It All Away and Getting It Back Again.” He talks about living this life like the game of Crazy Eights, NOT Monopoly. In Monopoly we gather and horde, building bigger and accumulate…because the one who has the most stuff at the end wins. In the game of Crazy Eights, the person who gets rid of all their cards first is the winner. The goal of that game is not to have anything left.

    This morning the Holy Spirit tied that analogy to worshiping God in holiness.
    I need to rid myself of all the things in this world (deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander, unkind words, moral filth, evil…) that would distract or draw me away from my true calling, relationship, service, and love with/to my Lord and Savior. When I am rid of the distractions of this world, what I have left is the “win,” pure, holy, humble, and implanted by God alone.

    But, what does that holiness look like? For me? Today? This morning?
    It looks like love without compromise.
    Love, as Jesus loves:
    Love the one who is breaking my heart
    Love the ones who love me deeply
    Love the struggling neighbor, family, and friends
    Love the parents and children nervous about this new school year
    Love the difficult boss
    my list for today,
    And yet, God,
    my heart, eyes, and hands, need to be open to the other opportunities to love that will come my way
    I am a sinner.
    saved by Your grace.
    I am loved without compromise.
    I am holy, because You are holy.
    I am saved, because You saved me.
    I am called worthy, only because You are worthy.
    You, Mighty God,
    Called me
    To this moment,
    To this day,
    To this journey,
    So moment by moment, day by day,
    may I lay it all out for You
    Will I “play all my cards right, always? No.”
    “Will you love me in spite of my failures? Always.”
    In the holiness of You Jesus, may I live a Crazy Eight kind of life
    poured out, empty,-yet full to overflowing-
    All because of You.

    In awe and amazement I cling to You.

    1. Donna Haydin says:

      Thank you for sharing your heart and prayers. Beautifully stated.

    2. Ronda Rockey says:


    3. Shayna Warren says:

      Love this! Thank you for sharing!

    4. Sue Dalos says:

      Thank you, your words touched me deeply this morning.

    5. Suzie McRae says:


  27. Kristine Loughman says:

    God picks me now, Forgives me today, even knowing I’m going to mess up tomorrow. Every day the past gets put behind me, I am a New Creation, I can start again. Whew! What a relief to have a Heavenly Father who will meet me where I’m at!

  28. Churchmouse says:

    I am saved and I am growing up into my salvation. I am holy and I am becoming holy. I have been made righteous because of my confession of faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ. There are old habits however that need replaced and as I yield to the Holy Spirit within me, those chains fall. There are attitudes that need submitted to my Lord. I am set apart and still setting apart the old nature. All of this is the faith journey. The Holy Spirit accompanies me. The destination is assured. I am merely His work in progress.

    1. Jennifer Cummings says:

      Amen. Churchmouse, do you write on your own somewhere? Blog, etc? You should if you don’t!

      1. Gina Glennon says:

        I agree Jennifer! Her insights are striking.

    2. Jennifer Cummings says:

      Churchmouse, do you write or blog on your own somewhere? You should if you don’t! You’re an insightful communicator and I always appreciate your input!

    3. Gina Glennon says:

      Amen! Yes, I am His work in progress!

    4. Mandy Ferrugia says:

      Beautifully said, Churchmouse!

    5. Sharon W says:

      Well said, may I quote you for those I am discipling!?✝️

    6. Stephanie Miller says:

      Beautifully said ❤️

  29. Kristen says:

    Maria, thank you for this teaching. So true. We can’t do any of this without Him. I was trying to remember your name because I read about your book. Then, I look and see you wrote the devotional!! Love when that happens. The other study I’m doing is in the First 5 app from Proverbs 31 Ministry. We are also studying 1 and 2 Peter. So the verse mentioned above relates to that study is anyone wants to join in.

    1. Lizzie T says:

      I’m doing that study as well!