Read Leviticus 19:1-2
Just two verses long, today’s passage contains one of the most daunting commands in all of scripture: You shall be holy!
It is one thing to say that we shall be morally good and loving because God is good and loving. We can handle that. Basic goodness and a loving disposition seem like attainable goals. By contrast, the command to be holy because God is holy makes us nervous. It sounds too lofty a goal. Yet God commands that very quality. So we face a dilemma: Either God has given us a command that we cannot live up to, or we are capable of being holy. Which is it?
To answer this question, we begin by noticing that we are not told to be God. God says we will be holy. Whatever being holy entails, it doesn’t mean being God. God and holiness are related, but they are not the same thing.
When it comes to God, holiness denotes two dynamics simultaneously. First, holiness denotes the absolute difference between God and creation. Put simply, we are never to confuse God with any part of creation, and we are not to desire or oth- erwise approach any aspect of creation as though it were God. Second, holiness also denotes God’s drawing near to God’s good creation. So while we do not confuse God with creation, God condescends to dwell within creation.
When God commands us to be holy, God does not suggest that we cease being part of God’s good creation. We become holy when, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we open our hearts and lives to the indwelling presence of God. We are capable of holiness because God freely chooses to dwell within us. God’s presence in our lives produces the fruit of goodness and love.
Holy God, I celebrate the fact that you not only made the world but that you are present within the world. In this moment, I welcome you into my heart and life. I long to know your pres- ence and to be transformed by it. Amen.
Used by permission of Upper Room Ministries. To purchase this resource in its entirety, go to: https://bookstore.upperroom.org/Products/1624/the-upper-room-disciplines-2018.aspx.