Every single person should read, study, meditate and focus on this quote from Dr. Michael McCullough, a psychologist from the University of Miami. The quote was delivered in the context of an interview for a New York Times article (interesting throughout) about the role of religion in influencing self-discipline and self-control.
Religious people, he said, are self-controlled not simply because they fear God’s wrath, but because they’ve absorbed the ideals of their religion into their own system of values, and have thereby given their personal goals an aura of sacredness.
The aura of sacredness; the ability to be mavdil ben kodesh l’chol, to distinguish between the sacred and the mundane is the base mission of humanity, and in fact, God’s first act of creation that was not ex nihilo. In other words, God’s first act that is imitable by mankind is separating the sacred from the mundane, and the proven method by which we humans come to acquire that ability is through religious practice and worship. Good stuff.