TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY
William D. Longstaff, 1822 -1894
But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15, 16)
The valuable guidelines given in this hymn for living a holy life are just as pertinent for believers today as they were when William Longstaff wrote them more than a century ago. God still requires a holy lifestyle for His people. We sometimes confuse holiness with piety, which can be merely a hypocritical goodness that masks inner deceit or impurity. A truly holy or Christ-like life reveals the virtues mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5, 6: Goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. We are surrounded today by so much sham and insincerity that we are often unconsciously affected by such influences. To maintain the quality of life that God demands, we must determine to take time to develop a life that is genuinely and consistently holy in every area.
William Longstaff, though financially independent (son of a wealthy English ship owner), was a humble and devout Christian layman and a close friend and supporter of the Moody-Sankey evangelistic team that stirred England with great revival campaigns during the late 19th century. After hearing a sermon on 1 Peter 1:16—“Be ye holy, for I am holy”—with reference to the book of Leviticus from which it was originally taken, young William began to make the achievement of holiness his life’s goal. Although this was his only hymn, these words have since been an invaluable influence for sincere believers everywhere who truly desire to live a genuine Christian life:
Take time to be holy. Speak oft with thy Lord; abide in Him always and feed on His Word. Make friends of God’s children. Help those who are weak, forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy. The world rushes on; spend much time in secret with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy. Let Him be thy guide, and run not before Him, whatever betide. In joy or in sorrow still follow thy Lord, and, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
Take time to be holy. Be calm in thy soul—Each thought and each motive beneath His control. Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
For Today: Leviticus 20:7, 8; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:23, 24; 1 Timothy 1:8; Hebrews 12:14
Reflect on all of the various suggestions for holy living listed in this hymn text. Sing these truths as you go realizing you need to—
Osbeck, K. W. (1996). Amazing grace: 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (p. 245). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.
- Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep ye therefore mine ordinances, and do them: I a the Lord which doth sanctify you. (Leviticus 20:7, 8)
- And when Solomon had made an end of praying, fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices: and the glory of the Lord filled the house. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
- And be renewed in the spirit of your mind, And put on the new man, which after God is created unto righteousness. Ephesians 4:23, 24
- And we know, that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully. 1 Timothy 1:8
- Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without the which no man shall see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)