Called To Live A Holy Life
This week we are discussing living a holy life. A big question that is asked in youth and young adults is “why should I live my life any differently?” If you are asking that, you need to ask yourself next if you authentically know the Lord and have a relationship with him. Have you surrendered all traces of your life to him and are you a follower of Jesus Christ? These questions should reside in the back of our minds with every decision we make. All of us make or have made decisions that don’t align with how we know we should be living our lives, whether it is sex outside of marriage, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or putting people and things above God in our lives, and those are the cause for nearly all of our difficulties in life. Wait, does God really care how we live our lives? Does it matter if we live our lives different? I mean as long as you believe in Jesus, you are fine because you are saved right? There is no reason to go to church or be a stick in the mud. Well, yes and no. We are saved through the blood of Jesus alone, that is true, but that does not make it right or fine. Society broadcasts that if you believe in Jesus that you can live any way you want. That is where we go back to our relationship with Jesus and ask if it is an authentic one?
Open your Bibles to 1 Peter 1:13-25.
Last time, we talked about living in hope. Despite our past and the persecution of this earth, we can go through life with hope. After our time on this planet has come to an end, we can look forward to being in the presence of God. Because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, we are able to get salvation through our faith in him and that yields hope. Now Peter tells us how we need to respond to these truths. The first main point is we should live to please God. In the message, it says “so roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives.” When I read this, I pictured the younger me when I saw my uncle. I would roll up my sleeves to get ready for action. I would put my mind in attack mode and think of a plan of action. By the time he walked through the door, I was already shaking my bum in preparation to tackle him. I got ready to take action. I knew how I would knock him over and I was focused; I was sober minded. When Peter says sober-minded, he is not saying sober in contrast to drunkenness per say, but instead he is saying to be focused and have self-control. When you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is difficult for you to focus and have self-control so you will find yourself doing things that you wouldn’t do sober. So we have to remain ready, focused, and intentional of who God is calling us to be and how we should live our lives. We need to live our lives as obedient children. Your obedience is a strong indicator of the standing of your relationship with God. I am a God father. When my goddaughter, Teresa, first began speaking, her first words were words that you shouldn’t say at any age because my uncle thought it was funny to teach her. As soon as I heard her say it, my face when stern and I told to never repeat those words again. From that moment, she never said another curse word in front of me again. Her dad were ask her to say this or that and she would turn to me then turn to him and then shake her head. Those moments brought me great joy because I saw her obeying me and making good choices. In the same way, God watches us and is filled with joy when He sees His children making wise choices. Conversely, He is saddened when He sees his children disobeying him and making unwise choices. We cannot separate faith and obedience. Jesus repeats numerous times that if we love him then we will obey his commands. With him saying that, He is telling us an “if then” statement. If we truly love Jesus, then we will obey him; that is how we show our love. It tells us in James that faith without works, obedience, is dead.” Loving means obeying. He tells us to obey Him and not conform to our former lives of sin. When my friend Mike started following Christ, it was noticeable. He stopped doing drugs, stopped going to parties, and stopped chasing sex. He was on fire for God, but then school started back up and he returned to his old friends. Hanging out with these people caused him to start slipping back to his old ways and conforming again. As an obedient child, he noticed it, was convicted, and did what he had to do, no matter how hard it was, in order to stay on the narrow path. The Holy Spirit convicted Mike. As Christians, we need to hear that voice that tells us what is keeping us from God and follow it. As believers in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit and its power to live differently than the world. We are called to be holy, just as God is holy and we are to represent him. We must represent Him in every area of our lives. So you know that secret sin you have in your life. That one that you think it is okay to do because it isn’t hurting anybody and nobody knows about it, whether be it porn or recreational drug use, does not represent God. Having a secret sin in your life is not okay. We need to truly fear God for that will affect how you live.
We are to fear God, but it not really trepidation, but instead a healthy honor and respect for God. We are called to live in fear of God so that we obey him. It is a holy fear.
Fear is not the only reason that we are to live to please God. Why are we to live to please God? Let’s look at verse 13: Jesus is returning. He came once and He said that He is coming back with His rewards in hand. We live this life to invest in the life after. Jesus is coming back to reward and to punish. This is a great motivation to live to please God, but that isn’t all. Verses 15-16 says that God is holy. Because God is holy, we need to be holy. God can’t tolerate sin, it goes against His nature. When we have sin active in our lives, it puts up walls that thwart our relationship with God. We need to repent. That means asking for forgiveness and turning away from sin. Verse 17 says that your life will be judged. We will be held accountable for our actions on this planet. Believers are going to heaven nonetheless, but we will be rewarded or not based on how we use our time and resources on this planet for good. Verse 18-21 reminds us that Jesus gave His life for us. He loved us so much that He was tortured and died on the cross to pay for our sins even though He was without sin. Why wouldn’t we be wanted to make Him happy? That is a perfect reason to live to please God. Pleasing God will purify our lives. He changes us and teaches us how to love Him, ourselves, and others, and how to be loved. We are transformed into a new person. While the things of this world are temporary as it shows in verse 24, God is eternal and our salvation with him is everlasting. Anything we accomplish or acquire in this world is going to perish, it won’t last and we cannot take it to our afterlives. God and everything He has spoken is true and everything we do is to please Him.
We want to be in relationship with God. We get to know Him and communicate with Him so that we learn what pleases Him and what doesn’t. We understand how to let God into our lives so that we can live it out. God has revealed Himself primarily through the Bible. In the Bible, we find out who God really is and what he wants for us. We learn what is pleasing to Him and what isn’t. The more that we know Scripture, the more we understand what pleases God. Verse 23 says we are born again through the enduring word of God and verse 25 says the word of the Lord endures forever and this is the word that was preached to you. God does care how we live our lives and the choices we make matters. This means that just saying we believe something doesn’t make it real, it is how we live our lives that reveal what we truly believe. If you say you love God, you should be living differently. You should be living to please God in all areas of our lives. Here is your take away for the week: make the life you are living reflect what you profess you believe. If you were on trial, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian? Give all parts of your life completely over to Him.