I hope that you all had a blessed time celebrating Jesus’ birth with your families this week. I cannot believe that 2016 is drawing to a close. This year has been filled with amazing times and incredibly difficult times. I praise God for His constant love and faithfulness toward me. I look forward to what God will do in and through me in 2017 as my life shifts at high school graduation, and I head out from home, college-bound.
In my personal study time, I have been going through Elizabeth George’s study on 1 Peter called “Putting on a Gentle and Quiet Spirit”. Today I will be talking about a set of verses in 1 Peter chapter 1, but let’s take a read through before diving in. 1 Peter 1:13-16, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
First of all, in order to be alert and to serve Christ at full capacity, we have to toss aside worldly hindrances that distract us and beg for our attention. When our minds are discombobulated and not centered on Christ, we cannot think rationally and make wise decisions. We are also more susceptible to Satan’s temptations. This passage can serve as a reminder to stay physically sober for those who struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction. However, I would like to discuss a mental form of sobriety. Take a moment to reflect about what is currently taking your focus off of Christ. What are you indulging in? Former missionary Elisabeth Elliot once said, “By trying to grab fulfillment everywhere, we find it nowhere.” Our culture revolves around social media and television. An excessive intake of media can take our focus off of Christ. There is much in the world for us to be distracted with, but there is only One who can fulfill us, and that is the Lord. We need to be in prayer as we manage what is healthy and what is damaging for our souls. Philippians 4:8 (ESV), “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
God’s Word is all satisfying. His promises and His ways are eternal. 1 Peter 2:2-3 (ESV), “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” I know that personally I don’t always crave God’s Word as I should. I often try to fill myself with perishable earthly pleasures. This earth will be destroyed, but His ways are eternal. God’s Word is a love letter to us, children of the King. It also serves as an inscrutable guide that teaches us our identity in Christ, and how to live out that identity. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV), “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Often at New Year’s people will make resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, and work out more. The American culture tends to believe that more is better. We often decide that we want to cut out the excess in our lives, but we don’t follow through. People will even make spiritual resolutions with good intentions such as going to church more, reading the Bible more, or loving others more. You name it. Why is it that our seemingly commendable motivations fail? Some New Year’s resolutions don’t even last for a month. The truth is that we as humans cannot muster up enough willpower to change our lives. We will return to the same struggles and habits if we do not seek help from our sovereign God.
This year my prayer is that I would be consumed with the Lord, and that I would desire His Word above my earthly desires. I want to seek God wholeheartedly and be focused on Him. I ask God that He would equip me to act out His will for my life. I do not have enough power to prevent myself from seeking after the things of this world, but I can always come before the throne and beg for His intervention. It is not easy to minimalize and focus more on Christ. However, He will guide us and continue to draw us to Himself.
Happy New Year’s everyone! I know that God has amazing plans beyond our comprehension in store for each of us this year. Thank you for reading! As always, may your coffee be strong. I’ll talk to you all soon.
In Christ’s love,