Authentic manhood, as we have discussed, begins with God. There can be no understanding of manhood, of what it is, and what it means, apart from the Creator. Any true expression of it then has to be, at least on some level, a reflection of Him. Thus, when the Apostle Paul tells us that we must be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1) the implication of this statement is impossible to ignore.
This, of course, leads to the question of where does one start? Where does this journey begin?
The answer is holiness.
The holiness of God is central to who God is. It is so much so that it is emphasized above all the other attributes of God which we find in Scriptures. As it is declared by the seraphim “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Is. 6:1-3) A thrice repeated declaration that intensifies the superlative, it is a proclamation that God is completely holy, that he is the absolute holiest of the holy. What it then reveals to us is that God’s absolute holiness separates him from any and all other aspects of the created world, setting Him apart from it. It is implied by the word קָדוֹשׁ, which denotes being set apart. This holiness is then free of corruption, of defilement, untouched by those things which are profane and unclean.
It is impossible for man to approach the holiness of God. No matter how hard he may try, he will never achieve that perfection, that, state of purity absolutely free of corruption that is God’s holiness. It is why Christ is absolutely necessary. It is through him that our holiness is assured, that righteousness is imparted to us, reconciling us to a holy God. As we are reconciled we are set apart for life in Him, and through Him. This reconciliation calls us to another life, one where we strive to live as God is in utter devotion to Him.
Thus, if the Christian man is to live a life in authentic manhood he must live set apart from this world, seeking, striving to be untouched by the profane and the unclean things that we find in this world. He is to pursue the righteousness of God, hungering after His holy heart, desiring the uncorrupted life.
As we consider this we look then at our text today which is found in the third book of Moses. The immediate context of this verse declares that the individual must not be given over to the things of this world. They are not to live the idolatrous life, pursuing the pagan life, the worldly existence. They are not to prostitute themselves, bowing and kneeling before other gods, amidst their cultural surroundings. Their relationship with God calls them to be different, to be consecrated, to be holy, recognizing that holiness is imperative.
The Christian man must then not be conformed to this world. Instead, we must be transformed as our minds are renewed. We must discern the will of God, as we pursue that which is good and acceptable, that which is holy (Rom. 12:2). We must realize then that we cannot love the world, or be loved by the World, recognizing that holiness provokes our world to hatred because of the wickedness and depravity of it.
How then do we live like this? How do we, as Christian men, imitate God? How do we pursue that life of holiness, of righteousness? How do we pursue that consecration, refusing to give ourselves over to this world and the things of it?
A part of the answer is found in the next verse as the Lord states “Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” (Lev. 20:8) For the Christian man to pursue holiness he must know the Word of the Lord because it is only through that Word that we know the will of God, it is only when we act on the will of God through our faith, that we pursue His holiness, that we seek the consecrated life through Him and in Him.
In this sense, what we recognize then is the holy life is the faithful life. This is a challenge for us. The reason why is because we are, by nature, turned from God and His holiness. Our flesh desires the things of this world even as our soul seeks first the Kingdom. This means we must set ourselves aside as we act in ways which reflects our redemption in our everyday life. We do not, as adulterous individuals, claim a relationship with God while pursuing the world around us and the things of it. Aligning ourselves to Heavenly Father, and to His will, we pray in earnestness that we may life according to His desires for us, setting aside our own ambitions, our own pursuits, our own will and desires for that which is higher than us.
We then pursue that which will contribute to, that which will encourage our spiritual growth, recognizing that, as we grow in Him, as we grow in Christ, as we mature in the Spirit, we draw closer to Him. When we draw closer to Him we draw closer then to holiness as we prioritize those things God desires of us as we walk humbly, pursue justice and love mercy.
Authentic manhood must seek to imitate God. Blessedly, we are not left to guess where this imitation begins. We see it written throughout Scripture as we are reminded that God is our highest ideal of holiness, and that our highest pursuit, as a new creation in Christ, should be that holiness in obedience to Him. This means then that you must set yourself aside to set yourself apart for God as you strive to live a life seeking His heart.
Lord, grant this unto us all.