October 18, 2015

1 Peter 1:14-16 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 in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

This is the opposite of the mantra of society: if it feels good, do it. The world knows nothing, really, of holiness. Things are called holy that are not, and genuinely holy things are often not recognized as such. People take pride that they are “above” the animals, and then they turn around and delight in acting like animals, or even worse. Whatever society in general is doing, that’s no excuse for children of God to act that way. Children often complain to their parents that other children are allowed to do such and such, so why can’t they. The answer is often that they have better parents than their friends do! If the parents are good, the more obedient the child is the better their life will be. God is the perfect Father, so it stands to reason that being obedient to Him is the best course, in any situation, all the time. However, when we are first born again as His children (as Peter refers to in verse 23) we are ignorant, not knowing what our Father wants or how to live correctly. That’s one of the functions of the Church, as more mature believers come alongside the “newborns” and teach, guide, and train them. We don’t get mad if a baby messes their diaper (though we may get tired of dealing with it) but we simply change the diaper. We don’t banish the baby from the family! However, past a certain point, lack of toilet training indicates a serious problem. The same is true in the Church. Every child of God needs to have holiness as their goal and be active in encouraging others toward that same goal. This doesn’t at all mean humorless rigidity. That is very far from genuine holiness. Rather, it means submitting every thought, every action to God and delighting in Him, above, before, and beyond everything else.

I certainly can’t say that holiness has always been a conscious goal for me, but I had the enormous advantage of being raised by parents who lived holy lives. Our home was filled with music and laughter, and it was filled with love and reverence for God. Actually, the first time I remember my parents specifically using the word, holy, with me (other than in hymns and in references to the Holy Spirit) was in the message from my father that my mother relayed to me at my wedding, (since my timing had made it impossible for my father to attend) and it was in reference to my wedding night. He said that I should remember that it was holy, pure, and beautiful. Good advice, and very far from the world’s attitude. As a pastor, you could call me a “holiness coach” for the congregation. I am to model a holy lifestyle, with humor and joy, so that they may see through the lies of the world and understand that holiness is both possible and desirable for them.

Father, thank You for my positional holiness in Christ, and that You work that out in and through me by Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that Your Spirit is indeed holy, so the more I am filled with Him, the more holy I am. May I be an obedient child on all levels, so that You may be pleased with me and You be glorified. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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