Summary: The God who we find in the Bible, is the God of real life, not the God of our imagined Disneyfied Happy Ending Life. Nasty, bad things happen in life. Being holy is not looking good, its dealing with life God’s way.
What you believe will determine how you behave and your behavior reveals your true beliefs.
We who have been involved in the church for many years read this Scripture about holiness and we say to ourselves…I know all about that holiness stuff, we say…Holiness is literally God separating us from the world. By his grace, God pronounces us holy and being holy is being obedient to his word.
If you know that – very good. God has blessed you mightily. But our faith is more than intellectual knowing the right theology. In fact right up front in verse 13 here, when Peter says, "Therefore, prepare your minds for action;"
He is not talking about gaining intellectual knowledge. No he is not saying, intellectual preparation but resolve and preparation for difficult events that may come….Let me correct that,resolve and preparation for difficult events that will come our way:
betrayal by a business partner
betrayal by a spouse
abusive behavior against you, or one you love
natural disaster – earthquake, fire, avalanche
an accident vehicle, a fall, sports related
your health, or the health of a loved one draining away…..
I preformed a funeral Friday for a wonderful woman and her delightful family and friends. A woman full of life, with a lot of life left to live; giving, joyful, great to be around. Six weeks ago she was told she had cancer. Six. weeks. It just makes you sick, doesn’t it?
You know, she was just living life, being good to others, helpful to all she knew. She was just a wonderful, loving, kind person.
Now do you think intellectual knowledge got her through those last six weeks of her life? You bet you bottom dollar it didn’t. What got her through was what Peter is speaking of in our Scripture this morning:
Resolve – “I’m am not going to let this cancer define who I am”
Preparation “Jesus is the real thing, in spite of my circumstances, in spite of this cancer, God is God and my hope is in him” Whatever happens. Good or bad. Jesus is my Lord and my God.
Now we can get into a discussion about how could God allow such a thing to happen. How could he let this happen to someone he loved -
and that discussion leads to oblivion my friends. That discussion comes from a cultural understanding that our life, and how we end it
must be “happy” or else something is wrong.
The new American mindset: a fair and happy ending for all.
But I think God who we find in the Bible, is the God of real life, the life that happens to you and me, not the God of our imagined Disneyfied Happy Ending Life. Nasty, bad things happen in life, especially when you are a Christian and if you are imagining otherwise – you are living in a fantasy.
Remember Peter is writing to people facing serious persecution. Many fear for their lives.Peter is speaking here of more than conviction and knowing right and wrong. These people know talk show philosophy might make good TV, but is doesn’t apply to real life
Remember Anita Bryant? She used to do orange juice commercials. That’s not why we remember her, is it? We remember her because Anita Bryant was a self-appointed crusader against gay rights a few years ago.
Then she went through a divorce, and acquired a drug habit, and was hospitalized for an extended time. The Anita Bryant of today is not the same person she was years ago.
This is what Sydney Harris, a syndicated columnist wrote: "Now that her world has come unstuck, and she is beginning to re-glue it, I feel free to point out that she is a better person than when she was so busy being a ’good person.’ Sometimes we have to fall from grace to know what grace really is... She sounds like a person who has lived and loved and suffered now, and not a radiantly smiling face on a candy box encased in velvet and wreathed with roses and totally insulated from the realities of life.
A bad marriage almost wrecked her, but it also saved her, because she grew rather than shrank and expanded her range of sympathies rather than shrivel into self-pity.
The Lord, we are told, works in mysterious ways, and I believe it.
Sometimes being dragged into the depths is the only way we glimpse a vision of the heights, being desperate and not being able to be consoled and defeated is the only way we redeem ourselves from pride and self-satisfaction. In pain, Miss Bryant is starting to be a Christian now, which she only thought she was before."
Anita Bryant had conviction, as solid as a rock. She had a studied intellectual theological understanding of the issues, but that wasn’t what saw hbr through – was it? A lot of people have conviction, powerful conviction, but they are not living holy lives.