Does Holy Living Matter While We Are Suffering?

Have you ever had a crummy day? So bad that all you wanted to do was eat an entire carton of ice cream and binge watch TV? That helps you feel better in the moment, but usually, you regret later. When we are suffering we are tempted to make decisions that only compound the problems we are facing. This is why Peter tells us we need to get our minds ready for action.

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The very first thing that Peter challenges us to do is to completely set our hope on God’s future grace. This world is not our home. One day Jesus will return and the expectation of that future event should determine how we think in the here and now. How we as believers live NOW is determined by what we know about our FUTURE. So let’s get our minds ready for action and set our hope on God’s grace.  

Often when we are struggling this is the last thing we want to do. It’s easier to wallow in our misery. It’s easier to focus on everything wrong in our lives. Our feelings want to forget about obeying God and living a holy life because, after all, we are suffering! But Peter calls us to holy living in our suffering because that is the best thing for us. When we make compromises in our suffering we often compound our hurt by stepping outside of God’s plan. But we have to remember that “trusting Christ isn’t a feeling; it’s a decision to obey.” And that decision starts in our minds. So the question we need to grapple with is what are we allowing to shape our minds? Talk Radio? CNN? Fox News? Social media? How much of God’s Word are we letting shape our minds? 

Trusting Christ isn’t a feeling; it’s a decision to obey.

When I struggle with difficult things that are outside of my control it is because I have forgotten everything Peter said in verses 1-12 and my mind isn’t ready for action because my hope isn’t set on God’s grace. I often forget that I’m an exile who doesn’t belong here. I then begin to act as though this life is all there is instead of the blip on the radar of eternity that it is. Even though everything around us feels like it’s falling apart, God gives us this amazing assurance that can never be shaken. And as Peter begins to call us to holiness, he wants that assurance to be front and center of our attention. With that in mind, let’s keep moving.

1 Peter 1:14-21 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. If you appeal to the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in reverence during your time living as strangers. For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

At the beginning of verse 14, Peter says “As obedient children.” Here is another identity statement. You are God’s child and as his child, you seek to be like him. At some point in my 6 years as a dad, I have seen all four of my kids put on and try to walk in my shoes. They stumble and fall, but they want to be like their dad so they try to walk in my shoes. That is how God wants us to look at holy living. Peter also reminds us that God purchased us, which means we no longer belong to ourselves, but him. We have a new allegiance to God and God alone. The price for our souls was not silver and gold, but the precious blood of Jesus, and this has been a part of God’s plan for all of eternity. Now let’s wrap up the last few verses. 

1 Peter 1:22-25 Since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth, so that you show sincere brotherly love for each other, from a pure heart love one another constantly, because you have been born again — not of perishable seed but of imperishable — through the living and enduring word of God. For

All flesh is like grass,

and all its glory like a flower of the grass.

The grass withers, and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord endures forever.

And this word is the gospel that was proclaimed to you.

Every instruction for how we are to live our lives grows out of and is enabled by that small phrase “because you have been born again.” Because we are redeemed, we are free to live a life of joy-filled obedience. Because we are loved, we delight in loving others. I love how Peter wraps up chapter one. He quotes Isaiah 40:6-8 and ties it in with the gospel. The Word of the Lord that endures forever is the gospel. The gospel will not fade away. It is our abiding hope forever. So here is our takeaway: Think on Christ and live for Christ.

Think on Christ and live for Christ.

Be sure to check out my new book.

THRIVING IN EXILE

The book of 1 Peter tell us that we are strangers and exiles. This world is not our home. We are now priests in God’s kingdom. Part of our role as priests is to point others to Jesus through the way we will live our lives-especially in suffering. When we anchor our hope to Jesus we can show people in our lives a better way to live. One that rises above fear with the unshakable confidence that comes from being secure in Christ. Living for eternity today gives others hope for tomorrow. Thriving In Exile will walk us through the book of 1 Peter and show how we can live holy lives that point people to Jesus while we navigate our own suffering.

Published by Nick Minerva

Nick Minerva lives in Fresno, California with his wife, Sarah and their four children. He currently serves as the Associate Pastor of Fresno Church where he has been on staff for over 10 years.

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