Transferable Holiness

This week I was at the Center for Renewal  for a half day retreat.  I do this monthly with a friend who asked me to enter into a discipleship relationship with him.  I explained to him my understanding of discipleship and that we are to become Jesus’ disciples.  If we were to enter into this, my role would be to help him become a more fully devoted follower of Jesus.  Since I believe that one of the best ways to do that is to help individuals and groups to connect personally with Jesus, I proposed that we would do a half day retreat together once a month.  We would start with an hour of Spiritual Direction and then spend the next two and half hours alone with Jesus.  We would close out the time sharing what happened during our time alone.

This is one possible way of implementing the model of spiritual mentoring that I have written about on our web site.  I am interested in doing this with several individuals and would love to see others following this model.
While at the CFR this week, I spent some time reflecting on Haggai 2:11-


“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Ask the priests about the law:  ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’” The priests answered and said, “No.” Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.”
Haggai points out to the priests what they already know and then in subsequent verses shows them how these obvious truths apply to them and to Israel.  But it got me thinking about these “obvious” truths:
Holiness is not transferable
Ungodliness is transferable
How obvious are they to me today?  Do I think I can transfer holiness into other’s lives? We can mentor people into ungodliness quite easily.  “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.”  But we cannot transfer holiness.  There is no proverb that says “One good apple transforms a barrel of rotten apples.”   Because it doesn’t happen that way.
So if one of the goals in becoming a disciple of Jesus is to be holy even as He is holy[1] how do we do that when working with others?  Our “holiness” is certainly not transferable.  Is Jesus’ holiness transferable by touch and proximity? I think that if I encourage the person to get close to the Holy One they will become holy.  But proximity to holiness is not enough.  Even with the epicenter of holiness – Jesus himself.  In His presence we need to learn from Him; hear His voice and then obey it.
Since that was our mission at the Center for Renewal, you’ll understand why we are so excited about this ministry.
Jesus, help me realize today, that I cannot transfer holiness.  Show me how to encourage others to spend time with You; listen to You; and then obey You.


[1]1 Peter 1:14-16 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”