OT: Leviticus 20:22-27, Leviticus 21, Leviticus 22:1-16
NT: Mark 9:1-29
Ps: Psalm 43
Pr: Proverbs 10:18
Today´s notable verse:
21 Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. 22 "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." 23 " 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." 24 Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
Mark 9:21-24 (NIV)
Oh, how we can relate to the boy's father. "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" I think we know this dichotomy of belief all too well. Some see it as a "head" belief and a "heart" unbelief. Some see it as the polarity between belief through faith and the doubt of common sense. Whatever the case, how aptly this declaration sums up so many of our experiences. I think the father here is really saying: I want to believe, and I choose to believe; but Jesus, I need your help to turn my desire and decision into reality. I can't do it on my own! May my prayer be the same.
The One Year Bible Blog asks:
Comments from You & Question of the Day - What do you think of the image above in the Psalms section? I find it to be very powerful - and relates to the OT reflections on being "set apart." How do you set yourself apart from the world for God? Are there particular movies or TV or radio programs that you will not watch or listen to? Should we set boundaries for ourselves on what we will and will not watch?
Over the past couple years, God has spent a lot of time in my life on the matter of holiness; it took a long time for the message and principle He was trying to teach me really to set in. The jist is this: the Old covenant gave the Israelites boundaries to keep themselves from sinning; Christ's covenant calls us to a higher and more perfect pursuit - not merely to avoid sin, but to pursue holiness. In other words, if we are focusing on the "line" between "sin" and "not sin", we're looking in the wrong direction: 180 degrees in the wrong direction! Rather, we are to look toward Christ - toward holiness.
For example, instead of debating whether a certain movie is "too sinful" or "too tempting" a stimulus, I should choose to find stimuli that edify. Consider these words of Paul:
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right; whatever pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Is it making sense? Another example, rather than trying to decide what physical line is "too far" to cross in a relationship, I should focus on how I may honor God with my body in the relationship.
The benefit of this approach is that a long list of "dos" and "don'ts" is replaced by the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit. Adherence to rules is superceded by a deeper intimacy with the One whom those rules are intended to honor.
And in the process, the questions of "how far is too far" or "how much is too much" disappear completely. This principle embodies the true freedom found in the pursuit of holiness!