Carl Jung is often attributed with saying, “The world will ask you who you are, and if you don’t know, the world will tell you.” I have my doubts as to whether Carl Jung said this. Nevertheless, it is a profound statement, one that applies to our spiritual lives.
The prophet Haggai once asked Jewish priests about purity laws. He said, “If a person carries holy meat in the fold of their garment, and the fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil, or other good, does it become holy?” The priests answered, “No.” (Haggai 2:12) The prophet then asked, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?” The priests answered, “yes.” (Haggai 2:13) These questions concerned the transmittal of holiness and defilement through indirect contact. In the case of the holy meat, holiness was not transmitted via indirect contact. However, in the case of the dead body, defilement was transmitted via indirect contact. An explanation of these categories would take longer than this short devotion affords, but the point it clear: it is easier to become defiled than to be holy.
Why? Let me offer an illustration. My wife Jessica and I often go to the Corning Museum of Glass. Their Hot Glass studio houses a large furnace that can hold one thousand pounds of molten, clear soda-lime glass. It also houses two smaller furnaces for colored glass. Working with glass produces scraps. A clear scrap of glass can be recycled back into the large furnace, but a scrap with even a small amount of color cannot. If a colored scrap were accidently recycled into the large furnace, all one thousand pounds of clear glass would be contaminated. Holiness is a natural state, but even the smallest act of defilement pollutes that state.
It is easier to become defiled than to be holy. Failure in one area constitutes defilement in all other areas. Such a high call to holiness ought to be a wake-up call to us. Have you become lax in your zeal for personal holiness? Do you laugh at things on TV that you would find deplorable in your own life? Do you regularly expose yourself to content that is harmful to your soul? Defilement comes passively. If you don’t know who you are or whose you should be, the world will tell you?
Those who believe in Christ have received Christ’s holiness. Let us choose to be who he has made us to be (cp. Hebrews 10:14).
Watch the sermon here: