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God is with you, Part 5

1 Peter 1v13-16

Prepare your minds for action

31st March 2017

Peter writes:

1 Peter 1v13
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled (or sober); set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

In the light of God's love, and Jesus's sacrifice, and the revelation of the truth that we've received, we surely know that we owe God a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. What we can do is get involved in His purposes – His mission to the world, to give our lives, our finances, our energies, our very selves, to the work of getting the truth out to others.

The job of helping others to find the truth, to discover that Jesus is God, that His sacrifice can set them free of guilt and death, to be born again as God's children, is of such overriding importance, that we cannot with conscience hold back anything from God's service.

Peter says "prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled". Spend time getting unnecessary stuff out of your brain. Focus on what's most important. Be ready to act. Look for opportunities to make a difference. Is there a way you can support the work of the church? Is there a neighbour you can speak to? Is there someone you can pray for? Of course, the answer is "Yes".

It's also true that we can't do everything. We can't pursue every opportunity. We can't go to every meeting, or speak to every person, or even pray for every person. But we can learn to hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit, so we get to do the things God wants us to do, and leave the things God doesn't want us to do. Maybe He wants somebody else to do them, or maybe he doesn't want anybody to do them. That's not our concern. Our concern is to do all that God wants us to do, and nothing that God doesn't want us to do.

And there is enough time for you to do what Jesus wants you to do.

And we can be self-controlled, or "sober". We can avoid anything that takes our focus off what matters. God matters. People matter. The work of helping people to find God matters. Nothing else matters much. We can resist the temptation to fill our mind with alcohol, television, music, or anything else. We can enjoy such things in moderation, so long as we leave time to pray and meditate, and listen for God's voice, and so long as our minds are uncluttered enough to hear Him when He speaks.

Peter says "set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." Let the certain hope of heaven be your anchor and your motivator. As you meditate on the glories of heaven, you will grow in your desire to help others find the path to heaven. You won't want to keep the best news in the world to yourself.

Peter says:

1 Peter 1v14
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

What desires did you have before you met Jesus? Did you desire money, power, sex, luxury, popularity? Did you desire a good reputation in the world? Let it go. Whatever you used to focus on before you knew Jesus, there are more important, more beautiful, eternal things for us to set our hearts on.

And Peter concludes this section of his letter with the words:

1 Peter 1v15-16
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."

Again, Peter is taking an idea that was first applied to ancient Israel and applying it to us, the church. Again, it confirms that we are now part of God's chosen people. This phrase, "Be holy, because I am holy" first occurred is Leviticus 11:44, part of the Law of Moses. Again, it applies just as much to us as it did to the ancient Israelites. God is perfectly holy, 100% sinless, utterly pure, and He calls us to be like Him. Of course, we're not. But Jesus washes us clean in His own blood, and sets us free from guilt, and He gives us the Holy Spirit to inspire and empower us.

No Christian on earth is perfect, but a Christian should be becoming more holy every day, as he co-operates with the Holy Spirit and obeys the holy Bible, in service to the holy God.