13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ NIV
John Stott once wrote that we must actively cultivate a Christian lifestyle, for holiness is not a condition into which we ‘drift’.
You will note that Peter does not say here, ‘Don’t have ‘’evil desires’’ ‘. In this life that would be impossible. Even after you have set out to follow Christ you still have a sinful nature, and you can think, feel and act in accordance with it, rather than living out your new identity in Christ. What Peter does say, though, is ‘’do not conform’’ to these desires. It’s not the case that you won’t have them, but you don’t have to give into them; to capitulate. They don’t have to rule over you.
But we certainly do not ‘drift’ into holiness. This paragraph is in many ways a call to arms. Living a life of holiness will involve your ‘’minds’’ (v.13a); your will (v.13b: ‘’be self-controlled’’)and your heart (v.13c: ‘’set your hope fully…’’). It will involve the whole person.
In yesterday’s passage we saw that the Christian life is cruciform in shape. It is Christ-centred and therefore cross-centred. The pattern is suffering, then glory (v.11b). In ‘the problem of pain’ C.S. Lewis wrote: ‘The sacrifice of Christ is repeated, or re-echoed, among His followers in very varying degrees, from the cruellest martyrdom down to a self-submission of intention…’
When the seed falls into the ground and dies, the beautiful flower of holiness can grow.
PRAYER: Lord, I did not want or choose these days of crisis, but please show me what it means to grow in holiness right in the middle of them. Help me not to postpone growth until a brighter day dawns. By your grace, help me become more like you today.