Summary: Having holiness during trials
Facing Your Trials in Hope - 1 Peter 1b
June 22, 2008
Turn with me this morning to the end of your Bibles, to the book of 1 Peter, chapter 1. We want to review briefly what we looked at three weeks ago. Remember that Peter is writing to give practical help to Christians dealing with daily problems. He starts by reminding us that we all face trials. They come in all shapes and sizes of trial. Peter says we can expect them to come; so don’t be surprised when they do come. They can be very hard to deal with, but with God’s help, we can make it through. Peter says in spite of the trials in our lives, we can have HOPE. Hope is not a futile wishing for a good future, rather hope is the confident expectation that God will work, based upon his character. I can have hope in the midst of trials, Peter tells me, because I am chosen of God - God loved me and elected ME! I am born of God - God not only loved me, but he made me his child. I am destined for good - I have an incorruptible inheritance waiting for me. I am shielded by God’s power - I am completely protected as I face these various trials. Therefore, I can have JOY in the midst of the trials, and I can GROW spiritually.
That is what we saw the last time, how to live a life of HOPE. Today, we want to move on to the rest of chapter 1. When you have hope, it affects how you live. Peter’s second call to us, is that because we have hope, we need to live a life of HOLINESS. Let’s read starting at verse 13. READ 1:13-21 -- pray.
God’s call to us today is to be holy. But holiness is one of those church words that we use so frequently, but don’t really get a grasp on what it means. We all want to be holy, but often we don’t know what it really looks like, and we don’t know how to get there. Literally, the word “holy” means “set apart” or in our culture today, we might use the word “different.” We are to live lives that are “different” from those in the world around us. The things they run after -- money, power, pleasure, pride -- they are not the things we seek.
Now, we all know that as Christians we are to be different from the world. The only problem we face is that often we need reminded of that call. We need MOTIVATION to live a different life. In Hebrews 10, it tells us we are to consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. You all know what a spur is, don’t you -- it’s a sharp metal disc with spikes on it, used to jab into a horse to get him to move. We are to literally “poke each other in the behind with a pin” to help motivate each other to live for God.
Peter gives us some keys here in these verses to live a different life, one set apart for God. Often we think that the key to godliness is going to church, reading our bibles, and praying more. But notice with me that none of those is the key that Peter shares first. Look in verse 13 to see the first key for holy living:
1. Control Your Mind - vs 13 - 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. The KJV has Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind. The NLT has So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the special blessings that will come to you at the return of Jesus Christ.
Peter knows the truth that holy living starts with right thinking. We saw this principle when we went through Ephesians together: Right thinking brings right action. The image Paul uses is of someone wearing a robe who gathers up his robe and tucks it in his belt so he is ready for action. We don’t wear robes a lot today, so let’s use a similar concept: it’s time for you to work on a big project, so you clear your desk, turn off the TV and radio, take the phone off the hook -- everything is put aside so you can focus on the work at hand. The NLT says “think clearly” - if you are going to lead a holy life, you need to think clearly about things. We need to have an alert mind. When someone is drunk with alcohol, their judgment is impaired. And while we often avoid getting drunk with alcohol, often we have impaired judgment because of our passions, our desires -- we make poor choices because we want things so badly. We are drunk with desire. And so we end up living just like the world. The first step to holy living, living differently than the world is to control your mind; have an alert mind that thinks clearly.