Purity and personal holiness. Yup, that’s what’s on my Re-stARTist’s heart and mind this new year as we begin 2015. Probably because I’ve been hanging out in the book of Leviticus for my daily quiet time, and although I wasn’t running full throttle with excitement toward this book of the Bible (sorry, God), I’m learning to be open and more positive to the lessons that He has for me tucked away inside as it’s chock full of instructions, explanations, and details on how to worship Him. Leviticus teaches us about the purification laws back in the days when the Israelites needed to learn the right way to worship the one true holy God, not the false gods that they’d been witnesses to the idolatry worship of during their 400 years in Egypt. God needed His people to distinguish between what is clean and unclean, just as we today still need to be clear about.
One of the principles our teaching leader put forth in lecture last week was this: “A holy life is characterized by purity, both inward and outward.”
It made me think about my life as a holy offering for God. What am I putting into my physical body? (Yuck, I shudder to think of the garbage I like to eat, the media I let myself take in, etc.), and then conversely, the what that comes outta this old mouth when the tongue is unleashed? Ouch. Oy. Eeeeeks. Zowie. You get the picture I’m sure! I think I’m definitely in need of a fresh start when it comes to personal holiness.
Fifty-six times in the book of Leviticus, the word “holy” is used. That’s a whole lotta repetition, no? God says, “Be holy, because I am holy.” And we wonder if our personal holiness and our daily behavior really matter to Christ? I hadn’t realized this but apparently, holiness is derived from the word “whole.” Makes sense, right? And the person of Jesus Christ represents this wholeness, so as we read the scriptures, it was suggested we try replacing the word “holy” with “whole” to see what kind of difference it makes. Interesting…. I want to be whole, as much as I joke about being complete in my incompleteness, but that’s just a cute cover-up to help me make myself feel better when I know that Christ is offering me more and I’ve instead gone and chosen my own selfish ways.
My friend, Elisa Pulliam, over at More to Be published a great article this week on the topic of purity too. It’s one that really grabbed hold of my attention in regards to how parents can teach our teen children about the life-long pursuit of purity rather than barking out a list of don’t do this’s and don’t do that’s.
And it’s amazing how God’s perfect timing orchestrated its arrival in my inbox precisely at the same time I was grappling with this purity/holiness topic on my own! Lovin’ that God again and His oh so perfect timing! Please do yourself and your teen/tween a favor and drop by More to Be to get yourself a copy of this article that will bless you and your family for years to come as you move toward the vision of living a life of holiness for the glory of God. I’d love to hear what you think of it.
But I digress. There’s still so much more that God brought to mind as I studied this week, like in Jeremiah 17:9, the Lord tells us about our deceitful hearts. How careful we must be to keep ours pure with all of the present-day temptations surrounding us. If God has set us apart to be wholly His, are my daily choices pleasing to Him? What am I modeling to my children, my friends, and my community through my actions? Where can I be a better reflection of God to others in my daily life? These are the thoughts that have run through the head of this simple Life Hostess as she’s committed herself to showing up, just as she is, wholly herself, responding to who God sends her and to what God puts in her path, daily, moment by moment.
And I guess those are some of the questions too that I’ll be chewing on while I’m perched in front of my washing machine and dishwasher in the days and months ahead. When asked to think of a way in my daily life that I could remind myself of these truths about God and His desires for us, wouldn’t ya’ know that those appliances were the first things that popped into this quirky lil’ head of mine, so perhaps you’d like to join me in front of your dishwashers and sinks this winter so we can scrub-a-dub-dub our hearts, minds, and souls together in spirit across the miles?
Come and wash over us, Lord, purify us making our hearts and minds holy and set apart for you, just as the water washes our clothes and makes our dishes squeaky clean.
And gals, from one Life Hostess to another, I’m sending you encouragement through the virtual scrubbing bubbles, till we meet again.