Be Holy as I Am Holy
It is my profound prayer that by the time you are reading this, the assault on the Ukraine and its population will be over. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be the case. My heart aches by what has been transpiring there – affecting the very young to the very old; the innocent and the vulnerable. I ache because whatever the conflicts were between Russia & Ukraine could not be resolved with honor instead of with bloodshed. Yet, we must realize that whatever the causes were, this did not begin in the last few months or years. Borders and governing bodies in this region have changed much even within the past 100+ years. Well-meaning people making well-meaning decisions effecting the lives of those they don’t even know. All of which comes down to the power of words and the effects words have in our lives and in the decisions we make. This relates to countries but, more importantly, it also relates to our own personal lives; family, social and professional relationships. The power of words!
And to take this one step further – how do we approach God’s Word? How do we handle verses that contain words which not only seem difficult to understand but are also nearly impossible to obey? Let’s look for a moment at Leviticus 11:44, “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” If you take the time to look this verse up, you will see it comes after many verses about clean and unclean animals. Well, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. After all, I don’t have much of an interest or appetite to eat camels, owls, rats or lizards. (However, pigs, catfish and shrimp should be open for debate.) Hmmm, let’s move on. Leviticus 19:2, “…..‘Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.’” If you take the time to look up this verse, you will see it comes after a litany of examples of unlawful sexual relations (oy veh!) and prior to the sharing of the 10 Commandments. To the casual reader, is scripture telling us that to be holy means following a list of dos & don’ts? If that’s the case - easy-peasy; done!
I Peter 1:16, “for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” Here it is again with Peter quoting from the Old Testament. Why? Let’s look at the whole paragraph beginning with verse 13: Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 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.” I’m certainly not seeing any resemblance to a checklist here. My NIV Study Bible explains this last verse: To be holy is to be set apart – set apart from sin and impurity, and set apart to God.
This all seems to make sense but how in the world do we do it; how do we become holy; how do I become holy? Therein lies my point. We read and/or listen to God’s Word but what about these areas do we find difficult to do or understand? Instead of pressing in, do we just gloss over them – after all, isn’t the New Testament all about God’s grace?! But by doing so, are we missing out on what the Lord might be wanting to reveal to us in His Word, through our prayers, and in our times of quiet?
I know many of us, including myself, consider “discipline” to be a 4-letter word. Depending on the context, suggesting this may be worthy of washing someone’s mouth out with soap. And yet it is through discipline that we excel in art or music, athletics, medicine, accounting, our jobs & hobbies, and the list goes on. What about spiritual disciplines, such as prayer, which most of us are already doing with varying degrees of commitment? I hope you will join me as we look at the variety of spiritual disciplines found and practiced throughout scripture.
I appreciate each and every one of you. I am grateful for your encouragement and prayers. And I look forward to taking this journey together in learning with the prayerful and humble desire to enter into deeper relationship with our Lord; to expand our prayer life; to become holy as He is holy!
Let us not forget to pray for our sisters and brothers in the Ukraine.
Blessings & Shalom,
The purpose of the Prayer Domain is to inspire and motivate people to know God intimately and create a culture of prayer so that the will of God is done in Tucson as it is in Heaven.