There are some big things that some in small packages. It could be an engagement ring in a small black box that initiates a new commitment for a lifetime of love and learning, maybe it is the moment the relator hands over the keys to your new house or it is the birth of your first, second or third child. Each one of these things may seem to be small but each carry a huge amount of care and responsibility in our lives. The physical and emotional nature of rings, keys and the gift of children make a large impact in our lives, but so can the words we say or read.
Take for example the seemingly small four letter word “Holy”, small word, big meaning. The book of Leviticus has a few things to say to us about the grand picture of holiness as it applies to our lives and our relationship with God. All the laws and rules that Moses received from God and passed on to the people of Israel were all part of His call on their lives to be holy. God’s command to the people of Israel and His desire for us today is the same “Be Holy, because, I the Lord your God am Holy. (11:44) My understanding of holiness looks like this:
Be loving, because God is love
Be joyful, because God is Joy
Be peaceful, because God is peace
Be patient, because God is patient
Be kind, because God is kind
Be good, because God is good
Be faithful, because God is faithful
Be compassionate, because God is compassionate
Be gracious, because God is gracious.
We gather together as believers each Sunday (the church) to bring honour and glory to the name of our father in heaven. Some of us meet together in small groups to learn and grow in relationships with each other and God. No matter the who, the where, the when, we are called to lead a life that is holy and pleasing to God because that is who we were created to be, created in the image of a holy God. The words of the Lord through his prophets, priests, apostles, preachers and teachers are the words that help guide us as a church and as individuals. It should be our prayer that God helps us to live true to his word, true to his call, reflecting his life through ours.
“Comparing apples to oranges” or “Comparing apples to apples”. These are two common phrases that we use or hear when we compare things that are either impossible to match or we have two things that can be reasonably compared. A great example would be comparing a Mac computer to a PC, there really is no comparison, the Mac is the superior product. An apple and an orange may both be a fruit like a Mac and a PC are both computers, but you can’t put them in the same basket.
I love the fact that I have been created in the image of God, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Gen 1:27. Each one of us was created unique and with special purpose, God has shaped us and given us each a set of characteristics that set us apart from others. In the book of Leviticus, we read much about God being Holy, His perfect holiness is one of many characteristics that set Him apart from us today. When I think about the commands he gives us to be Holy like He is, are we comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges? The fact that He is perfect in every way and we live in a fallen and sinful (imperfect) world, I would lean towards apples and oranges. What I do believe is that he sets for us a standard to measure against, that is the life of Christ.
How is this standard attainable? Leviticus 8:23 describes a part of the instructions that Moses had to perform in the ordination of the priests (Aaron and his sons) “Then Moses took some of its blood (the ram) and applied it to the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, the thumb of his right hand and the big toe of his right foot.” You might wonder why this helped me, at first I didn’t see it then as I did a little exploring I understood the significance of this Old Testament tradition. The blood on the ear was a reminder to listen and pay attention to the Word of God, the blood on the thumb represents the duty we have to perform God’s work and the blood on the big toe signifies that we are to follow in God’s ways.
God’s holiness, which is deeply rooted in His character is a part of who we are, it was given to us as He created us in His image. When we read His word, do His work and follow in His ways we live a life that gives Him glory and His holiness will shine through us so that others can see it.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? The most obvious answer would be that you see your reflection. When we look into a mirror we see an exact image that represents our physical appearance at that particular moment in time. I want to take a moment to gaze into the mirror and reflect (no pun intended) on the image that we can’t see; a part of us that was fearfully and wonderfully made by a creator who, in the beginning, shaped us in His image.
One of the foundational characteristics of who our God is can be found all throughout scripture, among many others it is the attribute of holiness. When we read through the book of Leviticus we are continually reminded of His perfect holiness and how we are to reflect it in our lives as a people set apart from the world. Leviticus 11:44+45 and 19:2 clearly state to the people of Israel that it was His desire for them to be holy, “be holy, because I am holy”. In the Old testament the particulars of the law were laid out for the people so that they could live in the presence of God and enjoy His blessings. Through Christ and his sacrifice on the cross we no longer have to follow the laws of sacrifice as the Israelites did, but we are still called to be holy. Peter in his first letter to God’s people remind them to remain faithful, conforming not to the evils of the world. They were called to be obedient children, to be holy because He (God) is Holy.
Our being holy does not reflect in our physical appearance as to be seen in a mirror. The reflection of His holiness in our lives is found in our obedience to his word. Holiness is seen in how we live out our daily lives. It is the “putting aside” of the evil desires of the world. It is living to cause the name of Jesus to be exalted, to glorify God and to be His messengers of love everyone. The next time you look into the mirror, think about how you reflect God’s holiness in who you are and what you do.