When I was making pizza dough on Saturday I had to add some olive oil to water. I am always amazed to see how these two elements don’t mix. Now I never liked chemistry when I was in secondary school, but I do remember there is an explanation to it. Oil and water don’t mix because oil is made up of non-polar molecules while water molecules are polar in nature. Because water molecules are electrically charged, they get attracted to other water molecules and exclude the oil molecules. This eventually causes the oil molecules, or lipids, to clump together.
Before you decide to stop reading: NO – this is not a chemistry lesson!
Mixing the olive oil and the water for a moment and watching it slowly get separated again made me think of the word holy! What do you know! We hear this word time and time again, but what does it mean? It means set apart – separated!
Our God is holy and He commands us to be holy.
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ ” I Peter 1:15-16
You might be thinking: easier said than done! Look around: how can we be holy in a world like ours?
Let’s take the water and olive oil for a moment: the water will represent the world and the olive oil those that want to live a holy life because of what God has done for them. The water is polar and its molecules get attracted to other substances which are also polar, like vinegar, for example. When mixed they cannot be told apart and the water will taste of vinegar. So the world will attract everyone who has the same inclinations, thoughts, intentions and desires.
The olive oil on the other hand is non-polar. The water cannot stick to it. They can appear mixed for a moment, but soon the oil will be separated and will normally stay at the top. Those that follow Jesus and want to pursue holiness should be like that.
We live in this world for a reason: we can share God’s grace with other people and to live for HIM. We need to work, take our kids to school, go to the shops, attend classes, give lectures; we need to make friends and so on. So, we need, for a moment, to mix with those that are in the world, far away from God. But like the olive oil, we should not stick to them. Our lives should always be seen as different. The olive oil still adds flavour and goodness to a recipe, but fundamentally it does not mix with the other ingredients. We need to let our lives add flavour and goodness to a world that is lost, but fundamentally, we cannot mix with it.
When we give our lives to Jesus and trust in Him and His sacrifice for us on the cross, God sees us as holy, because of Jesus. In Jesus we are changed, transformed into a holy people. We need to live like that! Separated, set apart.
When Paul wrote to Timothy and was trying to encourage him in his ministry, Paul reminds Timothy he should not be ashamed of Paul’s condition as he suffered for the Gospel .
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 9-10
Jesus called us to a holy life. It is not an option. May we seek wisdom from Him to live our lives to please Him and Him alone.