We Have Our Work Cut Out For Us.
“They will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, what is ceremonially clean and unclean.” – Ezekiel 44:23 NLT
God reminds Ezekiel that the priests who served within the new Temple would have the same job descriptions and responsibilities that they had in the old Temple. And one of the most significant roles they were to play was that of instructor. They were to teach the people of God the difference between what was holy and what was common or ordinary. One of the ways there were to do this was through the example of their own lives. By keeping God’s regulations concerning the sacrifices, they would be showing the people what a set-apart life looks like. Their lives were to be living examples of holiness or set-apartness. And today, according the Peter, we have inherited that role as followers of Jesus Christ. He tells us, “for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9 NLT). We are priests in the kingdom of God and we have a responsibility to model a life of holiness to the world. We are to teach others the difference between the holy and the ordinary. And there should be a difference. Our lives should not blend in with the world around us. We should be distinctive in more than just name or religious affiliation. We should not have to TELL someone we are a Christian. It should be evident by the way we live our lives. Peter describes the kind of life we are to live this way: “So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 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. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:13-16 NLT).
They say the best lessons are caught, not taught. The most effective form of teaching is still modeling. It is in the way we live our lives that we convey the true difference between that which is holy and that which is common or ordinary. When we live as if we have been set apart by God for His use, we will be living holy. When we live for His glory and not our own, we will be living holy. When we put His will ahead of our own, we will be living holy. When we seek the good of His kingdom instead of our own, we will be living holy. When we love others more than we love ourselves, we will be living holy. People were attracted to the distinctiveness of Jesus. The early church grew in the book of Acts because of the distinctiveness of the apostles and the unusual way in which they lived their lives. Holiness is attractive when modeled correctly and lived out sincerely. As priests of God, we are here to teach the difference between that which is holy and everything else in this world. We are to be different, distinct, and set-apart – holy unto the Lord.
Father, continue to show me how to live a holy life, a life that is truly set apart and distinctive from every other life around me. I don’t want to blend in, but stand out as a priest in Your kingdom. I want my life to be a shining example of holiness for the world to see. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men