By Jim Nieman
A new book by Shawn McMullen, editor of The Lookout, seeks to explain the importance of holy living and help people nurture a deeper relationship with God.
McMullen titled his book Coming Home to Holiness, though he admits holiness isn’t a popular topic today.
“The concept of holiness is routinely misrepresented and misunderstood in our culture,” McMullen says, “to the point that many people today are turned off by the mere mention of the word.”
“I think this is why some sincere Christians, with all their love and service and devotion, still feel incomplete—like something is missing in their walk with God. Perhaps it’s because they’ve never understood holiness as God wants them to understand it, and as a result, they have yet to discover and follow the path that leads them home—home to where they identify with their Creator and share in his holiness.”
McMullen offers this assessment: “When you were born, and again when you were saved, God had a specific goal in mind for you—to be holy.”
“You were created to be holy at birth, made to bear the image of a holy God. Then, at rebirth, your ‘new self’ was ‘created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’ [Ephesians 4:24].”
McMullen says a wide range of spiritual activities are considered spiritual disciplines, but he chose to include in his book only a few specific disciplines that Jesus clearly taught and/or practiced.
“These include knowing God through Scripture, as well as prayer, fasting, and solitude. I see these disciplines as foundational to our pursuit of holiness. I’m sure other disciplines can help us move toward holiness as well,” he says. “When it comes to the pursuit of holiness, I think of the disciplines as the various stepping stones in a single path to our destination.”
McMullen says that like many Christians, he’s experienced successes and failures through the years as he’s pursued holiness.
“The older I get, the more important one thing has become to me—living to the praise of God’s glory. Paul used the term, ‘to the praise of his glory,’ twice in Ephesians 1, so it’s clear to me that he valued the concept,” McMullen says. “As I try to follow Paul’s lead, many things in my life that once seemed important no longer are. I simply want to live a life that pleases God. That’s what matters.”
And, so, is Coming Home to Holiness an educational book? An instructional book? An inspirational book?
“I’m going to take the easy route here and say, ‘All of the above,’” he says. “I wrote Coming Home to Holiness to teach about the holiness of God and his call to us to be holy as he is holy. I pray that it’s instructional in that it presents a case for the pursuit of holiness and shows readers a clear path to attaining it. And I pray that it inspires readers to see God as the holy God he is and motivates them to honor him by living holy lives.”
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Coming Home to Holiness is available in paperback and Kindle e-Reader formats at Amazon.com.
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Shawn McMullen is editor of The Lookout, a publication of Christian Standard Media promoting discipleship, Bible study, and personal spiritual growth. Shawn also serves as the minister of the Vevay (Ind.) Church of Christ. He and his wife, Ree, live in southeastern Indiana.
Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Standard.