“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy (1 Peter 1:13-25).” Read the rest of the passage.
As I was reading the scriptures, a couple of nights ago, I came upon this verse. I have read it before. I have meditated on it before, but somehow it kept gnawing at me. I prayed and ask God to give me some understanding. The idea of being holy in all your conduct threw me. I believe that as believers our conduct should be above reproach as we are representatives of God in this world. Not that we won’t sin, but that in our daily lives we should not allow sin to overtake us. Then I thought, what is holy conduct?!? I do not refer to a self-righteous, pious type attitude that we often see portrayed in movies and television. How do we as true believers conduct ourselves in a holy manner on a daily basis? If holy conduct has anything to do with the movies we watch and the music we listen to we are in a world of hurt.
As ambassadors of Jesus Christ our daily mission should be to implore unbelievers to be reconciled with their Creator. However, does our way of living, our way of interacting with the world convey the importance of reconciliation? Every second of every day, the enemy walks about trying to trip us. Praise God for His grace and mercy that He so sufficiently provides.
God is so good to give understanding when we don’t understand His word. And the thing is… sometimes we do understand and we are confident in the knowledge that we have. It’s like recognizing, admitting and accepting. Recognizing you have an addiction is not necessarily the same as admitting and accepting you have an addiction. And still, there has to be some kind of carthesis, or epiphany to actually bring about the desire to be reconciled as the bible speaks about in the parable of the Prodigal Son. It becomes a sense of urgency to do God’s will.
So, how do we live holy?
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
As obedient children, the scriptures say. Children learn obedience. They don’t come prepared to live in this world. They must be trained in obedience and parents are responsible for their training. Children are socialized to conform to the ways of our society. Some children get gentle training and others receive harsh training and others through the school of hard knocks learn lessons the hard way. Gentle training, as we often see, does not always produce an obedient child. It is, however, all about conforming. We are conformed to the ways of our culture.
In Christ, we are not to conform to the ways of our old lusts, those lusts that we learned along the way in obedience training. In ignorance we did a lot of things that were not holy, things that only those that knew better ever took notice, yet rarely spoke out, because most of our friends and family were doing likewise.
So we learned obedience, at first because of fear, fear of mom, fear of dad, fear of authority, fear of consequences, fear of rejection. As we mature we learn to put fear in perspective. Fear makes us obey. It makes us conform. Fear can make us cower. Fear makes us slaves. However, fear does not have to rule our lives. Yet, fear makes us do things we would not otherwise do. Fear compels when God delays.
And God tells us not to fear. Isaiah 41:10 tells us…”Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Psalm 56:3 tells us…”When I am afraid, I will trust in You.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us…”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” I take it as…most everything we learned, we must unlearn.
When we recognize our sinful nature, we tend to admit we are sinners. We then accept, or reject the need for salvation, that can only come through Jesus Christ. When we accept that we are new creations in Christ, it does not really sink in right away. I dare say, most believers don’t truly comprehend what it means to be a new creation in Christ. I say that because many continue in their old ways, in their old lusts, living to satisfy their carnal needs. To understand what God did through Jesus when He went to the cross reconciling us to Himself literally takes a spiritual understanding. It takes a spiritual understanding to bring about the transformation from the carnality of man’s religion and the world, to the holiness of God and the things of God.
In 2 Cor. 5 the scriptures tell us …
“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
As ambassadors for Christ our conduct should not mimic that of the world. We should be mimicking each other, but finding a needle in a haystack would be easier than finding believers that actually live holy, or live a surrendered life. I dare say, many a believer would be hard-pressed to define, or agree on holy conduct, much less the notion of living a surrendered life.
The world walks in arrogance. It puffs itself up. It worships anything silver and gold, shiny and glittery. It makes idols of the walking dead. It loves things bigger, better and bolder. We are in the world, but we are not of this world, yet most of us straddle the fence. Our desires should not mimic those of the Jones’s. Our conduct should not be as that of the world, that judges others based on outward attributes. As ambassadors of Christ we should mimic Christ, because as Jesus knew what was in the heart of man, so God looks at the heart of every man and not on his outward appearance. And I know that can be difficult, as we can’t tell what’s in a man’s heart.
Samuel 16:7 NKJV
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Now then, as believers, as new creations in Christ, we are ambassadors for Christ. God is pleading through us: on Christ’s behalf, we implore others to be reconciled to God. We have not be saved for our own purpose, but for God’s will. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Does our conduct, our daily living, speak as if we are imploring others to be reconciled to God? I am still examining my daily living. So far…it does not look good. I am thankful that God’s grace is sufficient.
Be holy, be God’s, be blessed.