Obligation Or Opportunity?
Scripture tells us not to be conformed to the passions of our past, but to be holy because he is holy. 1 Peter 1:14-15 “14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;” We are called to live a life worthy of the Lord. Colossians 1:10 “Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” This is not, nor should it be looked upon as a duty or obligation that we dread or roll our eyes at. IF we have surrendered our lives – the miserable mess that we have made of our life- and have laid it at the feet of Jesus, he trades us salvation, purity, freedom, joy, a fresh start, for our mess, our sin, our pride. We then can joyfully and purposefully strive to live holy. Of course we will fail daily, but we shouldn’t get discouraged. Jesus told Peter when he was washing his feet, “You are clean!” John 13:10 10Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. He only needed to wash his feet from the daily dirt that got on them. We meet with our Savior daily, so he can wash away the dirt of the daily sin from our minds, eyes, ears, hands, feet… so that we can successfully be led by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. If we don’t go to our Savior daily and allow him and his Word to wash away the dirt of this world, by the renewing of our minds, the dirt of this world (our daily sins and anxieties) will weigh us down and we will move more slowly and not be able to keep in step with the Spirit. Romans 12:2 2Do not be conformed to this world,c but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. If we are not daily seeking him, it is harder to see where the Spirit is leading us and harder to keep in step with him.
God was always having the Israelites build monuments or establish feast days as a memorial to the victories where God had rescued them. This was to remind them what he had rescued them from. If we will continually remember what God has saved us from, it will keep us grateful for his Salvation. Then we will want to strive to be holy, not out of obligation but out of gratitude!
Imagine for a moment how humbling it would be, to allow The Holy God – The Great I AM – The one who spoke everything into existence – The one who willingly laid his life down in a humiliating and horrific death, to kneel down before you and wash your feet. Oh dear God, NO!!!! I can not imagine! I am so unworthy of such an act of love. That is the example of humility and love that he gave us. It is that same humbleness, and submission that we must have in order to lay our sin and our lives at the feet of our Savior. We have to acknowledge the mess we have made of our lives, the abundance of sin and pride, the lack of ability to do it right on our own and acknowledge his ability, his authority, his greatness, his holiness, his love, his sacrifice, his gift of salvation for us.
When we realize who he is and what he has done for us, then, instead of an obligation, to live holy, it becomes an opportunity to show our gratitude, as we humble ourselves and turn our backs on our wicked ways. 2 Corinthians 10:5 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 1 Peter 5:7-11 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Casting is defined in the Webster Dictionary as throwing forcefully in a specified direction. I don’t know about you, but I desperately, humbly and gratefully, HURL my sin, my worries and my problems, to his precious, holy feet and gladly and passionately strive to be an obedient child of God. What an honor! What a joy to lay down my passions and fleshly desires, to strive to serve my Savior and my God! Philippians 3:12-14 12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. It is with immense gratitude and joy that I strive and press on to live a life worthy of the Lord.
1 Peter 1:6-9 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.