The God who Sets Apart
I remember knowing the moment in every film where you could be certain the girl would get the guy. If we're honest we've been laboring through the first halves of movies for years to get to he moment when he grabs her hand, looks in her eyes, and says, 'You're different." This is where you know, she wins, she's done it, and he really loves her. Romance dramas aside, I feel like something somewhere deep down I've always believed there's something valuable in the set apart, something to be loved in the unique, something sacred in the special.
What the movies didn't tell me was that it had much less to do with me, and a lot more to do with the One doing the setting apart.
Jehovah Mekodishkem only appears twice in scripture, but one of those times follows God's request to Israel to observe the Sabbath (Exodus 31).
"Then the Lord said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.""
This indicates to them that their observance of rest is a testament to who He is, and that He has made them holy. This is a covenantal moment for Israel that not only marked and reminded them of their past, but informed their future. And in this beautiful past, present and future self-declaration from God, we too can find our 'different' moment.
Because we know this promise was simply a prelude to that of Christ, we also know he has sanctified us, is sanctifying us, and will continue to sanctify us to perfection (Heb. 10:14).
But that doesn't mean it will be easy.
As that movie moment longing to be different will forever well up in our hearts, so will the ever constant desires to look just the same as anyone else. Esther only shined before the King because she went through a year of physical and spiritual (translation) 'exfoliation' and we are no different. Most of us can likely look back and know that our holiest of moments were birthed through a season of exfoliation, rubbing away the grossest parts of us.
I truly believe the enemies greatest tool to delay sancitfication is a low pain tolerance. I say I want to be holy, but when it comes down to it, I want to be happy, I want to be comfortable, I want to be at rest. Wow, isn't it funny that God's promise of sanctification for us is directly tied to rest? He knew the shaving away of impurities is never fun, but he didn't forget to give us the rest we need to recover, so that we don't have to fear the daily deaths of this life.
A friend has taught me recently to shift my perspective of pain from negative, to an essential loss to becoming my glory self. Knowing that I am perfectly timed and willed into perfection, I can rest hopeful in the daily deaths, big and small. And let's be honest, the idea of a 'glory self' just sounds super cool and exciting.
Somewhere along the way, we church people forgot that altars aren't just for a Wednesday night prayer moment, but are where things go to die. But with each death we know someone more beautiful, whole, mature, dependent, and holy is to emerge.