The hope is that as we live holy lives, people will be intrigued and inspired to seek God. The only hitch is that Christianity has a reputation for suppressing life and its pleasures rather than embracing them. What has constituted “holy living” has done exactly the opposite and driven people away from God. A missional-incarnational response is to begin to redeem everyday life, its experiences and pleasures, as gifts from God that can in fact reveal qualities about the Creator. If we are to have any real impact in this era, we will need to give new expression to “holy living.”
If you want an example, look no further than Jesus. He is the best reference point for holy living. The disciple Matthew highlighted that this holiness was of a different kind altogether when he quoted Jesus as saying, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners.’ ”16 This is surely the kind of holy living we need to mirror. Jesus’s love for life and people attracted many. He ate and drank and socialized with people regardless of their race, lifestyle, gender, or religion, and some in the religious community called him a drunkard for it. If we wish to communicate to those around us that God is gracious, hospitable, interesting, and celebrative, we had better embody these qualities collectively. You’ll be surprised how many people notice.
It’s straightforward and commonsense, but when life gets too busy we forget that holy living and proclamation fit together and should never exist apart.
Alan Hirsch and Darryn Altclass, The Forgotten Ways Handbook: A Practical Guide for Developing Missional Churches (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2009), 104–105.