Daily Devotion: Of Wolves and Holy Men

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Bible Readings for Friday, May 6th, 2011 – The 3rd Week of Easter

*Click on each bible passage to expand the text.

Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

Isaiah 26:1-4

1 Peter 1:13-16

  • I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. – Psalm 116:1-2
  • Trust in the LORD forever, for in the LORD GOD you have an everlasting rock. – Isaiah 26:4
  • Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. – 1 Peter 1:14

“You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

The Greek word for “holy” in the passage, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”, is ἅγιοι (agioi 40)  which means “different, or set apart”.

While many of our cultural contexts view “apart-ness” or being “different” as a negative, the biblical contexts help us to know that the experience of being “holy” is meant to be a positive one.

There is another common word we use in our culture to describe something that is positively different from that around it:

An example.

In my opinion, that is the pinnacle definition of “holy”: to be a positive and inspirational example to others.

*First of all, we must always ensure that we are viewing this rare state as a gift, and for the sake of others, not for yourself. Attainment of a state of holiness is not for your sake, and gives you absolutely no cause to boast. In fact, feeling a sense of pride or accomplishment due to your apparent holiness is outright proof it is a counterfeit.

The Markings of a Holy One

In our secular culture, people who set positive examples are:

  • Caring
  • Hard-working
  • Intelligent
  • Compassionate
  • Honorable
  • Trustworthy
  • Selfless.

Thankfully, these attributes also directly apply to those who are also authentically spiritually holy.

However, authentically holy people exhibit additional habits and characteristics of a more spiritual nature, which I agree are paramount to truly becoming a holy example for others:

  • Disciplined Prayer and Devotion (this can encompass a wide realm of disciplines, from daily grace to yoga)
  • Rigorous Study of Scriptures and Texts (especially outside your principle “faith”)

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Alas, many things in this world can appear holy and good, and still be cesspools of hypocrisy and vice.

There are two great litmus tests for a presumed state of holiness: 1) greed, and 2) violence/anger.

Truly holy examples cannot devote their lives to the idolatry of Mammon, or money. It claims vast tracts of the landscape of the heart for it’s own selfish uses. I myself devote inordinate amounts of time justifiying my love of stuff agaist the mirror of my conscience, time that could and should be spent in the service of others, toward spreading the love of God and the light of the Word throughout the hearts of my brothers and sisters. But alas, I am not strong enough to throw off the yoke of greed, yet. In time I pray I can.

Truly holy examples do not employ wrath in their tool kit of divine love. You cannot expound upon the virtues of compassion, patience and empathy and then fly into a rage when others don’t see things the way you do. Anyone who uses anger, violence, or wrath (revenge) to effect change is very far from holy. I myself am shackled by my anger. I try every day to quench its hot flames, and I can go for long spans of time in an almost Zen-like chill, but reality is it is only a convincing facade over a nearly tyrannical zeal for social, political, and spiritual change. Although I clearly want all the right things for others, for God, for the world, I am still a hypocrite becuase I am still a slave to anger. Someday, soon, I will master anger, and harness my passion, and the stench of hypocrisy will begin to fade. My God, how I pray I will!

The Eternal Divine Charge

Regardless of how I (and those like me) struggle, there will always be a divine mandate to strive for holiness. Some say it is impossible, but we know it is not. Jesus might have been the Word of God incarnate, but he was also fully, fallibly human. Yet, Jesus was able to overcome all these useless vices and faults of mankind. He was able to lead an exemplary life.

God showed us our own earthy and divine potential. God calls us everyday to attain it.

1 Peter 1

15. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct;
16. for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Trig Bundgaard About Trig Bundgaard

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Romans 5
"18. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

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