Back in the beginning of January, I was in a meeting to discuss the coming New Year with some of my friends. It was an interesting discussion and led me to a wonderful personal devotion that week. I will recount what one woman said:
She said, “I usually start the year out by asking myself ‘what will be my Scripture theme this year?’”
She went on to say that once she has that in place, she focuses her daily devotionals on that scripture and how she might incorporate it into the daily makeup of her day. She then said she takes it one step farther and picks a scripture for each month that correlates with the scripture for the year she has chosen.
I listened carefully. I was intrigued and inspired. I took the idea home with me and let it begin to percolate in my mind. A few days later, I sat in my den and quietly began my thoughts and prayers towards what would be my scripture theme for the year.
The following is what came as a result.
Written January 13th, 2014
Today, my devotional scripture study was devoted to “Holiness.”
Inspired by a friend last week, I decided to take some time to find a scripture that would be my theme scripture for the year. I do not always stay “in the box” when it comes to scripture study and I sometimes find myself with books by Christian authors outside of the LDS sphere. This morning, looking for an attribute of God to study, I turned to a book by Ann Spangler. Praying the Attributes of God. For some reason, the way she presents things resonates with my understanding and I found myself looking through the table of contents for an attribute to study. I chose “Holiness.”
For the moment, at this time in my life, I have a bit of free time, so even though the chapters are divided into 5-day studies, because I have time, I sometimes do the whole chapter in one sitting. This is what happened today and I was very grateful because of what I learned.
She begins by quoting scripture praising God for His Holiness. She says,
Time, space, objects, and people – all can become holy if they belong to God.
In subsequent “days” or sections of the chapter, she illustrates different ways we can set ourselves apart as Christians and be made holy…This is where things got interesting to me. I found myself questioning,
“What are various ways I can use to celebrate and remember God’s Holiness in my life…?”
As I turned the page to the next section, she says that she doesn’t like wearing any type of clothing that “advertises” any message. I get that. She then ventures within this line of thought and asks, “What if I had the guts to wear a T-shirt that said “Holy” on it? She then mused that wearing a T-shirt like that might make her more aware of her position in Christ, and her responsibility to try to reflect His Character. I was with her on this…My wheels began to turn…then I realized, “I don’t need a T-Shirt. I have made sacred covenants in the Holy Temple and I wear those in my heart to remind me of the Covenants and Promises I made with God in the Holy Temple of our God.”
What am I doing to remember???
Moving on to the next section, I learned that God’s Holiness is contagious; that as we strive to adopt His Sacred Values in our lives, God’s Holiness works its way deeper into our lives. We become more holy. She then concludes with some insights on the Beatitudes, (Beatitude means Blessedness). As we practice these traits, as well as others offered in the Scriptures, slowly and surely, we become transformed by Jesus Christ, The Holy One of Israel.
Now, I may have known these things, as might you, but I can always stand a review of something that will bring me closer to Christ. As I pondered on these things, I turned to the final page of the study to find some scriptures on praise and worship of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. I had a few more minutes and so I began to look them up…I got stuck on this one:
And they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote upon it a writing, like to the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
This scripture comes from the chapter that describes the putting together of the Tabernacle of the Lord. When I read the inscription, HOLINESS TO THE LORD, I received an insight that added depth and meaning to my whole scripture study today.
As I mentioned above, I am a Latter-day Saint. As some may know, we believe in Temples and the work that goes on in them. On the outside of each Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the front, near the door are the words, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD.” I remembered this as I read the scripture in Exodus and then I remembered the following scriptures in Corinthians,
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the Temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the Temple of God is holy, which Temple ye are.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul repeats his teaching:
…For ye are the Temple of the living God, as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God and they shall be My people. (6:16)
It was then that all the pieces of my study “fell together.” We are taught that we are in the express image of God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ. Through His disciple, Paul, God has proclaimed us to be a “Temple of God” and that His Spirit dwelleth in us. As this is the proclaimed case, that we are a “Temple of God” and that He dwells in us, then in all reality, we should also have the words, HOLINESS TO THE LORD emblazoned on our foreheads and in our hearts. In order to “remind” us of the covenant to live holy lives, He provided the constant, loving reminder of His Son, Jesus Christ through the holy Sacrament of bread and water. By partaking and remembering, we provide a spiritual protection for “His Temple.” Further, through our persistent efforts in establishing greater righteousness in our lives, we prepare a holy place for Him to reside and preside. By so doing, in all humility and faith, God may come and dwell with His Saints in a most profound and personal way.
It was through this scripture study that I decided “Holiness to the Lord” would be my study for the year.
After thought: The word “Holy” fills me with breathless wonder – To strive for this quality for an entire year! – I imagine it will take an eternity to be as holy as I need to be to be worthy of the blessings and approbations of my Father – regardless of my human condition, He seeks every opportunity to bless me ~
PS You do not have to wait until January to do this. Let it work its way around your mind and inspire you.