In the years after Jesus ascended to heaven, Peter knew that hard days lay ahead for his fellow believers. So he reminded them about their security as children of God: they were chosen by Jesus, born into a living hope, given spiritual protection during this life, and guaranteed eternity in heaven with their Father. We also can learn from that instruction.
1 Peter 1:13-15 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance. But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.
Peter then gave the believers specific ways to prepare for the coming trials. His words, divinely inspired by the Lord, can guide us as well in these last days.
His FIRST instruction relates to our minds: Therefore gird up the loins of your minds. What we believe has a direct impact on our response to life’s problems. If we trust that God is really caring for us, then we will feel less threatened by any hard circumstances. But if we decide we must rely on our own ability or strength to get us through hard times, then we are more likely to react poorly to situations beyond our control.
A negative attitude, whether from anger, fear, worry, or jealousy can make a hard situation worse and last longer! Preparation for the future starts with each of us developing sound, Word based thinking.
The SECOND instruction from Peter is: To be sober. In other words, to maintain our balance in the midst of crises, and rest our hope fully upon God's grace. Many use the excuse "I can't help it, it's my personality." But no, we are each to use the Word to put down our fleshly faults and demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit; walking in love, joy, peace, patience, self control and also in how we conduct ourselves to those around us. In short, when they look at us they should see Jesus!
That requires us to resist quick fixes to problems and refuse to embrace ungodly ideas or philosophies. Our old enemy satan is quick to offer suggestions designed to trip us up or turn us away from God’s way and God's Word. But with the Holy Spirit’s help we can learn to stand firm in a crisis and steadfastly follow the Lord. Thankfully by living in the Word we can prepare ourselves spiritually for whatever our future holds.
There are two ways to prepare for life’s difficulties: Biblical thinking and balanced judgment.
Peter has this THIRD instruction included in vs. 13: Rest your hope. No matter how hard the circumstances, life has purpose and meaning in Christ. The Saviour has promised always to be with us and to keep watch as a shepherd cares for his sheep. Through the Holy Spirit’s transforming power, troubled times can be used as opportunities to learn more about God’s faithfulness, so we must draw on His strength if we want to experience personal growth.
Peter's FOURTH point in vs. 14: Not conforming yourselves to the former lusts. That means resisting our former lifestyle and faults. It means renewing our mind. When troubles come it's tempting to revert to ungodly habits. In these seasons of life, satan will encourage us to pursue any path that leads away from the Lord. We need to remember that we are new creations, whose lifestyles are to match our position as God’s children. That old lifestyle does not fit us anymore, that has passed away and is no longer a part of us at all. We are new creations with NO PAST!
Then, FIFTH and finally he says in vs. 15: You also be holy in all your conduct. Making holiness our goal or being holy or set apart begins with giving up control over our life to the Holy Spirit. As we submit to Him, He will begin to express the life of Christ through us. By learning what pleases God and acting accordingly, we cooperate with His efforts to conform us to the Son’s image.
While struggles can almost be a part of everyday life, and none of us are immune, we do not have to be overcome by them! In Christ we have already overcome them, what a blessing!
Have a wonderful week following the Lord.