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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Prepared for Future Growth

13-16So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy."
(I Peter 1:13-16)

In our passage this morning, we will explore the attitude of heart that we need to have in order to pursue God's holiness.  Our writer reminds us that it is not a pie-in-the-sky, happy-go-lucky existence we have once we come to Christ.  As a matter of fact, there is no room for laziness in our daily walk.

Peter opens this chapter with the words:  God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus.  He has his eye on us - an attentive Father that will not let us get by with living "below our potential" in Christ Jesus.  He has determined to keep us obedient - it is a lot more work for him than it is for us to keep us obedient!

Since this passage deals with bringing us into the reality of living holy lives, just like God is holy, it is comforting to me to know that the work of making me holy is not reliant on me!  God is at work in us to create the image of his Son in us - a life shaped by God's life.  Before we acknowledged Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we lived a life constantly guided by our own desires.  After coming into faith in Christ, there is a new "pull" on our lives - like a magnet drawing a piece of metal.  That pull is the work of the Holy Spirit of God within us - pulling us toward obedience.

A life energetic, blazing with holiness is not something that comes naturally - in other words, we can do nothing to work ourselves into a place of holy living. The very energy to pursue God in obedience comes from him - he is the one pulling us toward himself, enabling us to make right choices, laying aside the desires and pursuits of our sinful life.  Peter tells us that it is easy to "slip back" into the old way of doing things - we can resist the pull to do right when we become lazy in our pursuit of God.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent some time out in the yard.  My yard did not look all that bad - the grass was cut, the majority of the leaves were raked, and no huge weeds were springing up in the flower beds....but it was not "tailored".  In other words, I had let the plants "lazily" grow out of control.  They lacked form, and therefore, they really were over-running my flower beds.  So, I spent time trimming away dead growth, exposing the roots soil buried under a layer of dead leaves, and shaping the plants for future growth.

Don't miss that...I was shaping the plants for future growth.  The Lord does that in our lives, as well.  The tendency we have to "drift" into what appears on the outside to be "okay" growth may actually keep us from growing as we have the potential to grow.  As I cut away the dead blooms, removing the suckers that had sprung up, and reshaped the plants, they were "exposed" to new growth.  In one short week, I have seen new sprouts coming forth that give me signs that new growth is on the way.

The plants have a "new energy" to produce new growth - something they were not doing until I spent some time "cutting them back".  God wants us constantly revealing new growth - so he takes us through times when he focuses on that which is not growing well in order to move us on in obedience to him.  God is shaping us for future growth - blazing with holiness!