"You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own." ~ Leviticus 20:26
It will soon be time for the gluttony goodness of Thanksgiving. We're having Thanksgiving at our house this year, and I'm already thinking about the menu. A slim second behind Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday: Fall, Food, Football, and throw in a full-tummy nap and I'm happy.
One dish I seem to always make is ambrosia, or, as Elli calls it, "Fluffy Stuff." One of the ingredients is mini marshmallows. Now, with a four-year-old in the house, mini marshmallows are one of those items that, for Thanksgiving, I set apart for the glistening bowl of Fluffy Stuff, but I seem to not be able to hold onto. Laura loves marshmallows and will often ask (read: beg) to have a small bowl (read: giant vat) of the sweet little things. Alas, the more she eats, the less I have for Fluffy Stuff.
Now, we as followers of Christ are not called to be Fluffy Stuff, but we are called to be set apart. Scripture says that we are to be holy, for God is holy, and we have been set apart. Our personal holiness does not save us: only Christ, through His atoning blood, does that. We are told to "work out our salvation," as Paul wrote in Philippians. This too does not mean works can save us, as only Christ can do that.
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. " [Philippians 2:12-16a]. This passage is saying that God works in and through is to fulfill His good purpose. He doesn't need or require us, but invites us along on His mission to share the Gospel.
Have you ever known a Christian who was a grouch? Or a Christian whose mission in life was to argue or grumble about nearly everything? I have. This should not be. Followers of Christ should be the most joyful people on the planet -- we have been forgiven! -- and should not go through life, lemon-sour, as though satan himself licked the jam off our doughnuts.
We are to be set apart. We should be visible, tangible evidence of God's redeeming grace and stand out from the world. If we don't stand out, if we blend in with the people and things of this world, what does that say about our testimony? If we say we've changed but there is no outward evidence of changed behavior, changed language, changed mannerisms -- that kills our testimony. We cannot lead people to Christ and say He will change your life if we don't exhibit the evidence of life changed.
Terrie Bentley McKee
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