1 Peter 1:13-16
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 butlike the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
What is the “therefore” there for? Previously Peter was addressing the grace of God which has appeared as foretold in the prophecies of old. I believe Peter’s point here is that these things have come true, so we must then, because we now have proof of it happening, continue to act with this truth.
My last post involved relying on the Spirit for all that it is designed for. If we are continuously relying on the Spirit, then what Peter says here is possible. This isn’t to give us an ego boost, that once we accept the forgiveness of God through Christ that we are better than others. For as the Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians,
“27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Rather, the Spirit of God in us is what enables us to be Holy. To be holy means to be set apart, to be different and cleansed. Because we have been adopted as sons and daughters in Christ, we are called to a different way of living. Not merely to please God, but because it’s what is good for us (whether or not you agree with it). It’s sometimes difficult to let go of the “former lusts,” but just like when you get married we must be disciplined to refrain from lusting after others or engaging in extramarital lustful relationships, our choice to love the other is the same as our choice to love God through obedience.
Certainly, we aren’t perfect in this. It is a process of choice and failure. Sometimes we let those we love down by not even trying. Sometimes we “do the right thing” and still hurt and disappoint. It’s a product o our brokenness and the habits we have developed over years of practice. You cannot simply undo these things instantly or by yourself. Rather, it is the help of God’s Spirit and the strength that He provides to change our habits. Why do we do this? Why should we care? Because God has revealed Himself to us and has been true to us in the past. Therefore why wouldn’t we? Our love will always be conditional. We will always love Him because He first loved us, and we get to celebrate that by loving Him back. We do so by learning His will and then being obedient to it.
This is why it is so important to read and study His word, to not just ask for things but to stop and listen as well. Peter is calling us to a sobriety in spirit, a realization of the truth not motivated by impulsive emotions like lust, anger, or greed, but rather through choice like love, discernment, and wisdom.
Where do you need to find sobriety of spirit and how can you better rely on God’s Spirit to help you with that?