Living Loved When Living’s Hard | Day 2
Reading: 1 Peter 1:13-21
“He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” – 1 Peter 1:20-21 (ESV)
My favorite part of being a runner is competing. I’m a competitive person by nature, so I love the opportunity to show I’m better than other people.
LOLZ. I’m not really that fast.
But really, running in a variety of races gives me a good outlet for my competitive nature. It also gives me a reason to work out and eat healthy, which I only do when I’m training for a race. I’m a skinny-fat girl – I’m not dedicated enough to give up French fries and Pepsi unless I have a solid reason.
But as much as I love running and competing, the part I cannot stand is the pre-race line up at the start line. I hate it. I get antsy; I’m shaking; I can’t sit still; I start getting impatient and snappy with people.
Because at that moment, I am blocking out all the extra distractions so I can get completely focused. All of my thoughts are narrowing in on the race that is about to start. I know the route set out in front of me. I’ve trained. I’m thoroughly prepared for what lies ahead. The only thing I need to do at this point is, to quote Nike, “Just do it.”
Friends, this is how our Christian life should be. We’ve been given all the tools we need. Now, we just need to take action and live the life that’s ahead of us. To help us out, Peter gives us two things we need to do in order to fully live this life God has called us to:
#1 – Forget your past.
This is so hard, but, sister, if we’re going to embrace the life set before us, we have to turn away from who we used to be.
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul encouraged its members to do the same. Ephesians 4:17-24 says “ . . . put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The moment we accept Christ’s perfect sacrifice, His blood covers every sin we have ever committed and every sin we will commit from then onward.
Sister, if there is a reason you think this is too good to be true, that there is no way someone could cover the sins of your past, I pray you will understand the unfathomable love of God. Before the foundation of the world, Christ existed and had a perfect relationship chilling with God.
(I know all that is a little confusing because it deals with the Trinity, which is something that I don’t think our little human brains will ever fully comprehend.)
Imagine having that life. You are all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present; plus you are forever in the presence of the person you love most.
Would you give that up?
Honestly, I’m pretty sure I would not be willing to give up that life so I could die for a bunch of people who might not even believe I existed. But that’s what Christ did. He was willing to confine Himself into a human being to live life among people (who were annoying, needy, and clingy) for 30 years, showing them how to live and how to love. And all of it was for our sake, to give us a way to have a relationship with our Father again.
There is nothing we can do to erase the mistakes and sins of the past. And sadly, the consequences we might have to reap for bad decisions may continue long into our lives. But praise Jesus, His sacrifice has our imperfections covered.
#2 – Act holy.
“Don’t drink, don’t dance, and don’t listen to rap music.”
That’s what instantly comes to my mind when I think of the word “holy.”
I grew up in a conservative church and attended a conservative Bible college. How I lived my life in those venues was determined by my outward appearance: Was I at church enough? Was I dressed modestly enough? Was I nice enough? Was I a good enough example of a good enough Christian?
While I learned so much from these places, I began to identify myself as if I was or was not “good enough.” I think a lot of us identify ourselves this way, and when the word “holy” pops up, we think about all the rules we have to follow to be a “good enough” Christian.
But that’s not the point of being holy.
In Greek, the word for holy is agios, which means “to be set apart.” It’s like having a something set apart for a certain job. For example, I have multiple brushes, but they don’t all have the same purpose. Each one is set apart for a different job; I have one for my foundation, one for my teeth, one for my hair, and another for my dog. My brushes aren’t interchangeable. I have picked out each one for a specific use.
Jesus saved us and then called us to live a life set apart for Him, not because of anything we did, but because of what He did (2 Timothy 1:9). Let’s be honest, friends, if it was based on something we had to do, we’d probably screw it up. No, our salvation was nothing that we could do. It was something determined by God to make us holy once and for all (Hebrews 10:10).
Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we have been made holy. This doesn’t mean we’re perfect, or that God expects us to be. Sister, we will make mistakes – dang, will we make mistakes – but that doesn’t negate what Jesus did for us. Being made holy means that God has chosen to set us apart for a specific reason. We’ve been rescued through Jesus for a purpose: to love Him and love people (Matthew 22:37-39).
We were redeemed by the blood of Christ, something that will never fade away. Unlike the people following God in the Old Testament, we don’t have to continually present sacrifices to God to earn His favor. It’s already been done. All that’s left for us to do now is live like it.
One of the most impactful philosophers of our age, Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This is undoubtedly true. Part of who I am is because of my best friends – I say “Bless,” on a regular basis, I attend classical music concerts, I feel a need to follow what’s happening on the Bachelor/Bachelorette. All of these are things I only do because of the people I spend the most time with. My life reflects theirs, simply because I love them and I spend time around them.
My life as a follower of Christ needs to mirror that. Since God is holy, my life should imitate the example Jesus lived. My actions should be a reflection of who Christ is to me.
If my life is not pointing to the One I belong to, something desperately needs to change.
I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t need to earn God’s favor. That was already done for me when Christ died on the cross.
What I do need to do is focus on the One I am set apart for and live in a way that honors who He is and what He stands for.
✌️ – Tonya
What was the first thing that popped into your head when you saw the word “holy”? Did you think of a list of rules like I did? Is there an area of your life that you think the Holy Spirit is asking you to live in a way that is more set apart?
Feel free to respond below! Or just leave a nice comment 😉