Sunday, July 13, 2014

1 Peter 1:14-16: Living a Holy Life

“Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
1 Peter 1:14-16 (NRSV)

My former ignorance, the life I lived before I devoted my life to Jesus as my Lord and Savior, must be a thing of the past. Base desires, emotionally-spent thinking, self-focused actions, pursuits of personal pleasure, and the quest for more money are all past passions that led to empty ends. In living a life in and for Christ, I must be holy in thought and action, even if it seems impossible at times and I miserably fail.  It is the many failures, moreover, that act as trials and training grounds that lead me closer to God. More importantly, however, is how my quest for holiness is unsuspectingly viewed by others. For it is through my actions that others can come to know Christ. Being holy in conduct, then, is allowing Jesus to use me as His servant and conduit of love and peace to others. Holy living, however, is not a way to earn salvation. Striving for holy living is only possible and prompted by God’s grace.  Aiming to live a holy life is a cooperative step toward serving God and living a life reflecting Jesus’ love.
What is a “holy” life?  It is living a life that no longer focuses on “me.”  Real-world holiness is living a life that in small steps, diminutive decisions, and miniscule moments serves others.  It is turning over the last two dollars in your wallet to the homeless shelter collection on the way out of Wal-Mart, even when you can think of ten things to buy with that two dollars. It is saying hello to someone in a public place when it is easier to walk by and look away. It is answering the phone when you know it is a telemarketer and treating them with respect and kindness. It is answering the door to a sales person, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, or any person looking for your attention and treating them will love.  It is listening when you want to be heard.  Holiness is putting the others first and ourselves last.