Day 8

Worship Through Holiness

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

BY Guest Writer

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

Post Comments (45)

45 thoughts on "Worship Through Holiness"

  1. 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.

  2. Kirsten Murphy says:

    Loving each day of this plan!

  3. 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. ❤️

  4. Heather Hull says:


  5. Heather Hull says:

    Thank you

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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