Set Apart

You shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. 
Exodus 19:6
They've diverged a bit in spelling, but the words wholly and holy are still pronounced the same. And, believe it or not, they share the same roots. The basic meaning of the word holy is wholly other. Something or someone holy is set apart for a sacred purpose. It is completely different from all other things or beings.

Priests in the Hebrew Bible were set apart for a sacred purpose. They were holy—meaning they were different from the rest of Israel. Therefore when we see some of the strange laws in a biblical book like Leviticus, we might do a little contextual reading and learn that sometimes those laws were meant for the priests. Laws about clothing and facial hair were often intended to set the priests apart. And even when a strange law was meant for all Israelites, it was intended to set them apart from other nations, for Israel was holy to God. 

As the new Israel, the church is holy. Though we are spread among earth's nations, we are set apart. Our priorities differ from those around us, our purpose is different, our lives are different—often not so much outwardly, but always inwardly. This is why it is so dangerous when Christians mix politics with faith, and confuse secular leadership with God's Anointed. We should strive for a nation where love, justice, and peace—the hallmarks of our faith—are reflected in our laws and policies. But those same laws and policies are not our resting place, for we are primarily citizens of the kindom of God. Our true compatriots are not those who have the same passport we do, but are our brothers and sisters in Christ—those who, filled with the Holy Spirit, do the will of God.

God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.
 Ephesians 1:4
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Set me apart, Lord. Make me holy. Unite my aims with yours, and grant me the strength, courage, and faithfulness to speak your words and do your will in the world.
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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