In 1st Peter chapter 1 we find Peter encouraging new believers in Christ by reminding them of their hope in Jesus Christ; reminding them of their rich inheritance and future home in heaven. Recently, I made the decision to highlight in sky blue color, every reference I come across regarding heaven or life in heaven as I read the Scriptures. This morning I was excited to begin the process. In 1 Peter 1:14 I read “do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;” My thoughts no longer in heaven quickly turned to what does it mean to be holy as He is holy? What would holiness look like played out in my life today?
I struggle knowing I can never arrive or earn favor by being good. What should be freeing in reality becomes an Achilles heel for the devil to use against me. I come from a background where in order to receive favor you had to do good. I had to get good grades, I had to keep my room clean, I had to do everything as required or expected. If I did, and only then, did I receive favor from parents, teachers, and others. The church in which I learned about the Lord and where I became a follower of Christ, was a works based, Bible believing church. Meaning what I did, or do, for Jesus determines where I spend eternity (my existence after death). It fit right up my alley. Therefore, from a human perspective, and in my feeble little mind, I need to do good here on earth in order to receive the favor of heaven. I continue to struggle with the issues of sin; often doing the same sin repeatedly, asking for forgiveness only to find myself back in the same spot. I simply cannot always do good – I cannot earn my way. Reading verses like these today often fill me with guilt and doubt, then confidence in my eternal home slips, fear sort of sets in, and, in my mind, my final destination becomes in question.
Today, I found myself asking the question, “O Lord, will I ever reach the place where I feel secure in your forgiveness and acceptance of me, no matter my circumstances? Where doubt will no longer seep through and peace will reside?” God is ever faithful to me! I sat quietly, my Bible open before me, filled with sadness over my lack of spiritual growth and faith. In the quietness of the moment, I heard God say, “Read the passage again, Sandra”. As I reread the phrase, “do not conform” literally jumped off the page. The word conform means to be in harmony with prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, etc.
The very fact I keep trying to avoid, sidestep, not align myself with sin or things which go against the will of God, means I am not conforming. I am not in one accord with the world or its evil. It means just the opposite! Hooray, Hooray, Hooray! When Christ is revealed, when He returns to gather His children and take them home, I will receive the fullness of His forgiveness and grace including an eternal home with Him in heaven. Oh what a glorious day.
As you can see I veered off subject, just slightly. Often, that is how God works in my life. I’m headed in one direction and he takes me in another. What does it mean to be holy as God is holy? What would that look like in our everyday life? We will explore being holy another day.
Until next time,
1st Peter 1:13 – 16 “therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy and all you do; for it is written: ‘be holy, because I am holy.’ ”