“You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”
We let Toby, our little terrier out into the backyard several times a day so he can get a little exercise, bark at the neighbor’s dogs, and of course, do his business. It’s this last reason that there are some shoes I wear when I go out back, and some that I don’t. You would never catch me in the back yard wearing dress shoes, or brand new shoes. As I get older, I can no longer count on perfect vision to avoid messy missteps, so the shoes I want to keep clean I set aside and keep separate. My worn-out and grass-stained shoes pull backyard duty and when they come off, they stay in the garage. My nice shoes stay in the closet when I’m not wearing them to work or church (in my case, of course, that’s the same thing).
This is the idea of holiness. To be holy means to be separate, set apart for something special. Holy things are not to be mingled in with the mundane or muddied. This doesn’t mean that we are to be sequestered away from the world. We are to live in the world, but in a way that glorifies and testifies to a Holy God. There should be a noticeable difference in our lives from the rest of the world – our attitude, our outlook, our relationships, the words that we speak, the activities that we participate in, and the way we use our time and resources. Many of the laws and practices that God set aside for His people were to teach them how to be holy so they could honor Him and represent Him. Although we are no longer bound to the law, we honor and represent God when we live differently from those who don’t yet know Him.
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- What things should you avoid in order to live as holy and set apart for God? Why?
- What things should be a priority? Why?
- Is holiness the same thing as perfection? Why or why not?
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?