Being set apart is something that all those, in Christ, objectively are; the hard part, of course, is subjectively appropriating His holiness in our every day living. We are admonished often, and in many places in scripture to be holy; and I take this to mean, beyond the objective reality of holiness that we have as a result of union with Christ, to be a command for all Christians to yield to (by the Spirit).
Often times, what I am underscoring above, causes many Christians to hearken back to the Puritan days; or more close to home, the Independent, Fundamentalist style of Christianity — you know, legalism. Many Christians are running away from this heritage, and in some ways this is warranted, especially insofar as these particular ‘styles’ of Christianity have fostered legalistic Christianity.
But we should not mistake “holiness talk” for “legalist” talk; clearly these are not parallel realities. Being holy, set apart, means that we have a heart set on fire for Christ — we passionately love Christ. This does not mean that we always “feel” certain ‘warm fuzzy’ emotions all the time; instead it means that we have been captured by who Christ is, and we will now settle for nothing less. It means that when we look at the attitudes, accruements, and accolades that the world has to offer — and we realize that all of this could potentially stand in the way of me loving Jesus — that I flee, and run away from such stuff. It is the love of Christ that constrains us, or compels us (as Paul says); so when we are at work, or school, or wherever, and our buddies are making fun of another (socially inept) coworker we do not laugh, we do not join in, in fact with Christ’s courage we confront such fleshiness, and expose it for what it is. It means that complaining or grumbling is not allowed. It means that filthy talk, and gross jokes are not funny. You catch my drift?
I hope the love of Christ has, indeed, captured you; you can pray, please, that my eyes will always behold the beauty of Christ, instead of the trash of this world — thank you!