Holy – Properly, whole, entire or perfect, in a moral sense. Hence, pure in heart, temper or dispositions; free from sin and sinful affections. Applied to the Supreme Being, holy signifies perfectly pure, immaculate and complete in moral character; and man is more or less holy as his heart is more or less sanctified, or purified from evil dispositions. We call a man holy when his heart is conformed in some degree to the image of God, and his life is regulated by the divine precepts. Hence, holy is used as nearly synonymous with good, pious, godly (Webster’s Dictionary 1828).
At the end of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni provides a pattern we can follow as we strive to become holy:
Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot (Moroni 10:32-33).
This pattern includes both actions we must take and blessings we will receive. Here are the actions we can take:
- Come unto Christ – Turn our minds and our hearts toward Him. Seek His assistance.
- Deny ourselves of all ungodliness – Eliminate activities, words, and thoughts which are unholy from our lives.
- Love God with all our might, mind, and strength – We show our love to Him by keeping His commandments (John 14:15).
- Deny not His power – It is important that we recognize the hand of God in our lives and believe that He is capable of saving us (Doctrine & Covenants 59:21, 1 Nephi 1:20).
President Henry B. Eyring said, “Greater happiness comes from greater personal holiness.” He listed some things we can do to become more holy:
- Exercise faith in Christ
- Demonstrate our obedience
- Sacrifice for Him
- Receive sacred ordinances
- Keep our covenants with Him
He then cautioned that these activities will require humility, meekness, and patience (“Holiness and the Plan of Happiness,” General Conference, October 2019).
President Russell M. Nelson has emphasized that becoming holy requires us to intentionally eliminate unholy things from our lives:
Sometimes we speak almost casually about walking away from the world with its contention, pervasive temptations, and false philosophies. But truly doing so requires you to examine your life meticulously and regularly. As you do so, the Holy Ghost will prompt you about what is no longer needful, what is no longer worthy of your time and energy.
As you shift your focus away from worldly distractions, some things that seem important to you now will recede in priority. You will need to say no to some things, even though they may seem harmless. As you embark upon and continue this lifelong process of consecrating your life to the Lord, the changes in your perspective, feelings, and spiritual strength will amaze you! (“Spiritual Treasures,” General Conference, October 2019).
Today, I will strive to be more holy. I will seek the guidance of the Lord to understand what I need to set aside, what I need to stop doing in order to focus my attention on higher and holier things. I will seek the help of the Lord in this process, remembering as Moroni taught, that it is only possible through the grace of God.