September 2023

You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’ (Leviticus 19:2) NIV.

God is speaking in September’s Saying from Leviticus to the Israelites, through Moses, and calling them to be holy.  He says to them: ‘Turn not to idols nor molten gods ...’ and ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’.  Despite the fact that they have disobeyed Him and have been faithless, God loves them and honours His covenant with Abraham.  Both the Old and the New Testaments stress the importance of cultivating personal holiness.  In Hebrew, the words translated as ‘holy’ and ‘holiness, have to do with being ‘set apart’, ‘separate’ or ‘dedicated’.  For God though, holiness is not about mere action or a set of behaviours; holiness is His essence.

So how can we dedicate ourselves to being holy and to reecting God’s holiness in the way we live?  As God in the Old Testament chose Israel out of all nations, Jesus chose believers to live a life that is holy.  Jesus echoes God’s words when he says to us in Matthew’s Gospel ‘Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48).

Being holy or becoming holy, is for most of us, a continuous and lifelong journey of inner transformation, as we grow in love and service.  As we follow our Fellowship’s method of prayer, receiving God’s Word into our mind, heart and will, we experience Jesus not just walking with us or before us, but actually living within us.  Jesus asks us to ‘Abide in Me, as I also abide in you’ (John 15:4).  Paul goes a little further when he says ‘You yourselves are the temple of God and God’s Spirit lives in you’ (1 Corinthians 3:16).

All creation is impregnated with the holiness of God, including all humanity which He created in His own image.  But we look with sorrow at the suffering in the world today caused by disasters, war and oppression, and sometimes feel powerless.  Yet we are able to help in a small way through donating essential items, clothes and money, supporting our neighbours and communities and praying for all who suffer in the world, through our vital work of intercessory prayer.  As this month’s Saying reminds us: ‘You shall be holy, as I the Lord your God am holy’.