Tuesday, April 18, 2023

            When we read Leviticus, we learn about God’s expectations for how we are to approach Him and how we are to live.  We learn about His standards for holiness and righteousness.  In Leviticus 11:45 specifically, we learn why God calls His people to be holy.  The answer is simple. The Bible says, “I am the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore, be holy, because I am holy.”  That verse deserves to be underlined in every person’s Bible.  There is some profound truth for us to see.  First, we encounter the name and identity of God.  He is the LORD.  To see this word LORD in all caps reminds us of God’s proper name.  He is the great I AM.  He is the One who causes all things to be.  He is that He is.  God is the great I AM.  He is not an idol.  He is not an artistically fashioned icon made from wood, stone or precious metals.  He is the LORD.  There is no God but the LORD.  He is without equal or comparison.  Any effort to make a comparison of something to God fails and falls short.    
            Second, God tells us how to live.  We are to “be holy.”  We are to live righteously and uprightly.  We are to pursue purity in all ways and dealings.  One way that holy living is practically expressed is found in Galatians 5:22-23 where we read about the fruit of the Spirit.  Jesus tells us to love God, to love others and to love as He has loved us.  The Bible has the familiar refrain from Genesis to Revelation that we are to live in a holy way.  We are to obey the Lord and to walk with the Lord.  We are not to substitute our ways for His ways.  Holy living is not something that we naturally do or pursue.  We choose holiness with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us and guiding us into the things that are right, good and true.  Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 that we are to renew our minds rather than just conforming to the world in a default manner.  When we renew our minds through Scripture, prayer and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can seek God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.
            Third, our motivation for being holy is God Himself.  God tells us to “be holy because I am holy.”  We are to be like God.  That may seem daunting and overwhelming but that is the unchanging standard that God has.  We are not to do as we wish or settle for the lesser things.  God called Israel to holiness and distinctiveness so that other nations might take note of Him because of how His people lived.  Likewise, today, God calls us to live holy so that we reflect Him to those around us.  We are to be salt in that we make people thirsty for the Lord we know and serve.  We are to be light so we can direct others to the Lord by what they find in us and how we live.
            Because God is God, He can make the rules and standards for how we are to live and the pathways we are to follow.  Indeed, the Bible says, let God be true but every man a liar (Romans 3:4).  That is to say, we are to trust God’s standards above the standards of others or even our own.  God’s ways lead to light and life.  The ways of the world lead to darkness and death.  Even in the initial temptation in the Garden of Eden, Satan deceived Adam and Eve by casting doubt on God’s standards and demands.  When we turn from the standards of God, we are left with nothing else to trust or embrace as life-giving and life-changing.  Israel needlessly and unnecessarily wandered in the wilderness for a long time because they disobeyed God and preferred their sour ways to His sweet ways.  May we not follow that example.  May holiness be the standard that we pursue, the carrot that we chase and the manner by which we live.  All other ways lead to death and despair.  Have a great Tuesday!  Remember you can worship whenever you like at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.   

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