Be Holy as God is Holy
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
It is much easier to comprehend knowledge when we are not under the influence of mind-altering substances. We are to abstain from these thing, including anything that would cause us to not be able to fully place our focus on the God’s grace. We can be distracted by the things of this world; not only alcohol, but engaged in the things of the world that can distract us. And while we need to engage in our jobs, our family, and other necessary things, we should be careful when selecting activities that will lead to distraction from our singular devotion to Christ.
Peter reiterates here that we are not to be conformed to our prior evil desires. The word conform in the Greek – suschematizo – is the same word that Paul uses in Romans 12:2 telling us to not be conformed to the pattern of this world (or, literally, do not be squeezed into the mold of). We must not allow any evil to squeeze us into its mold of thinking or action.
Have you noticed that things that are evil – even evil attitudes – try to get you to think a certain way to both obscure their true intent, as well as promote themselves as the better and more enjoyable path to comfort, pleasure, and/or ease? Shortcuts are extremely appealing to us because we think we are gaining something or gaming the system – we think we are getting ahead. But in reality, these shortcuts deny us the very experience that we need in order to grow. And in doing so, we become more dependent upon them, until there comes a time when we are called upon to do the necessary work.
Take plagiarism for instance. It is very easy to copy someone else’s work and pass it off as our own. When we do that (and we do it consistently), we miss out on the lessons that we need to learn in order to effectively research and compose writings based on critical thinking of our subject matter. When we are then called upon to do something original (that no one else has done or researched), we may very well not be able to do so because we have become dependent upon the theft of other people’s intellect.
God has called us to be holy. Holiness is being set apart from sin, and set apart to righteousness. We are to put behind us the things that have so easily ensnared and entrapped us and embrace the character of God. This is not a suggestion – it is an imperative command – in the Greek, genEthEte – literally “be-ye-being-become!” As we pull back from sin and pull closer to God through reading His word and praying for help in understanding and implementing Godly concepts, God transforms our minds into vessels that are better able to live out the imputed righteousness afforded to us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
And like anything else, when we learn new skills, we first learn the basics, and them move on to the advanced techniques. It is the subtlety of nuances that will grow our faith and action from finger-painting to murals like “The Last Supper”. This is a progressive learning experience through refinement of technique that sets apart the beginners from the masters. Let us greatly strive to master the holiness of God.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask ourselves a question: Are we setting aside anything that would impede our growth and mastery of holiness?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You call us to holiness, for You are holy. Help me to recognize what attitudes, options, or ways of doing things are evil and impeding me from living righteously in holiness. Cleanse me of all unrighteousness, and lead me in the way everlasting. Refine me and test me, Lord God, that like the dross from gold and silver is skimmed to reveal the precious metal in the fiery forge, that through my fiery trials Your character would be refined in me. Help me to rejoice in my suffering, and may it bear much fruit. This I ask in the precious name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.