Leviticus 19:1-2 (ESV) – And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
“Like father, like son.” “The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree… ”
When I first started preaching, I heard these two statements over and over again. That’s because my dad is a preacher, and my first pulpit was his. In many ways, my preaching style mirrors a lot of what I saw him doing… and it doesn’t hurt that we share the same basic build, hair color, etc.
The idea of being like my dad didn’t phase me until I became a dad. It suddenly dawned on me that what I did actually had an impact on my own son. If I was overly critical, or overly lenient it would reflect in his actions. If I let my anger get the best of me or was laid back in times of crisis it would show up in how he responds to life. My word choice could affect his word choice – for good or ill. That terrified me. So, one of my consistent prayers as a parent has been for myself – “Lord, make me the kind of father my children should emulate?”
As God is leading the people out of Egypt through the leadership of Moses the consistent calling of the people is to holiness. As I have been going through these Lenten readings, I am struck at how often that is the call for God’s people. The impetus to that calling is two-fold 1) Be holy because God has rescued you… (something I discussed in the last post) and 2) Be holy because God is holy.
It’s kind of like the “fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree” thing. If the people stayed in a close relationship with their Father in heaven his holiness would influence them in a profound way. They would begin to reflect his divine character in the world.
The New Testament call to holiness is of little difference, save one aspect: Jesus, the Son of God, demonstrated how the perfection of that call could be lived out and then he gives us the Holy Spirit (literally God himself) to enable us to accomplish that call. God’s power to holiness is a byproduct of a close relationship with him. If we find our holiness waning, then we should question the relational closeness, and then pray for the power to endure.