He runs with the big dawgs…er horses. He frolics with the colts. Following Mama horse and baby horse around the pasture, you would think he was one of the family. But he isn’t. He’s a goat. A little, black billy goat.
And he thinks he’s a horse!
Silly thing, but my heart aches for that little black goat. It’s fun to watch him running with the horses, but with his dark ebony hair and little horns, he sticks out like a sore thumb. Set apart, if you will.
Doesn’t he realize he’s different? Special, not like that bunch he’s hanging out with!
As followers of Christ, we are called to be holy and set apart. The apostle Peter, in his first letter to Jewish and Gentile Christians, reminded them to stand firm in their faith. They were living among pagans, and evidently, were reverting back to their former way of life.
“So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.” 1 Peter 1:14 NLT
Then, he reminds them of who they are now: Holy followers of Jesus Christ.
‘but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy for I am holy.”’ 1 Peter 1:15-16 NASB
What is holiness, exactly?
The dictionary describes it as “dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; morally and spiritually excellent.”
Zodhiates, in The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament, defines it this way (Emphasis mine):
Holy, set apart, sanctified, consecrated, saint; chaste, pure…Its fundamental idea is separation, consecration, devotion to the service of Deity, sharing in God’s purity and abstaining from earth’s defilement; morally pure, upright, blameless in heart and life, virtuous, holy.
Set apart. Pure. Sanctified. Consecrated.
Yep, that’s us.
So, I have to ask: How’s this holiness thing working out for you?
I know, I know! You’re thinking “ME? How’s it working for YOU?”
I have to tell you, it’s a struggle not to get sucked into the things of the world. I have a temper that trips me up more often than not; my unholy thoughts run rampant about sandpaper people in my life; the love I have for people can be selective; don’t even mention my unholy eating habits – the words gluttony and idolatry come to mind; and let’s face it: I like my “stuff.” It isn’t likely that I will sell all I own and give it to the poor. I don’t feel particularly different from the world.
In my own flesh, holiness is impossible. So, what’s a gal to do??
Join me next week, and we’ll see what advice the Apostle Peter gives to help us with this dilemma!
Grace be with you,