Holy living isn’t just a nice idea. It is something God commands us to do. Most of us assume holy living isn’t truly possible. Sure, Jesus did it, but He is the Son of God. We’re fallen and fallible human beings. How can we live up to such a standard? Peter gives us a roadmap for holy living in 1 Peter 1:13-16.
It all starts in our minds. If we get our thinking right, we’ll find it far easier to live holy lives. You can’t be holy when your mind is obsessed with the things of this world. There is nothing holy on earth, so if we are always thinking of unholy things, how will we ever lead holy lives?
Peter paints a picture of actively preparing our minds. He writes we should get our minds ready for action. Our spiritual battles are often won or lost based on our thinking. When we have the right image of God, we know nothing on earth can defeat us. We have eternal life in Christ, so what can man do to us (Psalm 56:10-11; Matthew 10:28)? When we think rightly about who we are, Satan cannot deceive us into believing we are anything less. We are called and chosen by God, co-heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:16-17), and welcomed as sons and daughters into the Kingdom of God. Our lives were worth Jesus sacrificing His life, so we might live.
The way to prepare our minds for action is to be self-disciplined and set our hope completely in the grace of Jesus (1 Peter 1:13). If holy living is our goal, we cannot ignore these keys. Discipline is never pleasant in the beginning, but when we stick with it, it produces a great harvest of results. We enjoy the fruit of discipline, but few enjoy the work that leads up to the results. We want the easy path. The easy path is the way of the undisciplined. You can walk that way, but your mind and body will become lazy. Laziness will not lead to holy living. Only focused discipline will give you that.
Most of us already know what to do. We don’t need another book, seminar, sermon, or even another blog post to instruct us. The truth is, we don’t want to do the hard work of disciplining our minds to focus solely on Christ. We don’t want to give up the pleasures of this world. We want everything the world promises and Jesus, too. Peter admonishes to not conform ourselves to the desires we had before surrendering to Jesus (1 Peter 1:14). We must put all that away and live by the commands of Christ.
If we want to live like the world, we are free to do so. But don’t think you can focus on the pleasures of this life and serve Jesus, too. It won’t work. The Lord commands us to be holy because He is holy (Leviticus 19:2; Matthew 5:48). If we love Him, we will desire to be like Him. Holy living won’t be optional, it will be our driving force. If we love Christ, we will take action and do the work needed to discipline our minds to dwell only on Him, His grace, His mercy, and His love. God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-6). He won’t tolerate our lack of commitment forever. He is the epitome of love, and also the righteous judge. There are consequences to our lack of holy living. Take action today. Surrender your life to Jesus and discipline your mind to think only of Him. Do this, and you can live a holy life.