Dr. Zach Crook
Every person must find their place in this world at one point or another. We are all asking what we need to do to belong. It’s a natural human desire. But Peter reminds us that this world is not our home. In 1 Peter 1:13-21, Peter tells us how we can live out our identity in Christ rather than seek the world’s passions and pleasures. If you desire to seek Christ and glorify God, you can cling to these truths about who you are.
Don’t Be a Tourist
Have you ever visited a famous landmark or attraction and seen a slew of tourists taking pictures? They spend massive amounts of money on souvenirs and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities before returning to their mundane lives. The motto of the tourist is, “I’m just here to have a good time.” As Christians, we cannot have the attitudes of tourists. We are not here to chase pleasure or become thrill seekers. Christ has given us a mission and a purpose, so we can not waste our money and time on frivolous amusements when there’s far greater work to be done.
Don’t Be an Immigrant
Did you have family members who immigrated to the united states through Ellis Island? Many of them changed their names to sound more American. Many immigrants are looking for a way to fit in with their new country and assimilate with its culture. Though we may feel this desire, Peter reminds us that, as Christians, our role is not to conform to this world. We are not made to fit in. We are called to stand out and be a light in the darkness. We need to be ready for action and on-mission. We are ambassadors and missionaries prepared to live for the Lord.
In 1 Peter 1:13, Peter encourages us to be sober-minded. We need to keep the main thing the main thing. We cannot get distracted by everything that nonbelievers do. We are constantly bombarded by sensationalized news headlines and social media scandals, and these things easily attract us with scary titles or hot gossip. It’s important to remember that many of these things do not have an eternal impact. Most of the time, they are just distractions from what really matters. Peter says that we should instead be sober-minded. Don’t get caught up in all the things of this world or fall into the hysteria of the news cycle. Instead, focus on the mission and the calling that Christ has given you.
Be a Nonconformist
We are meant to be nonconformists, living on mission as strangers in this land. This happens most effectively when you set your hope entirely on Jesus Christ. He gives us the grace to live daily, going against the current and following Him instead. When you get discouraged, you can remember what Christ has done for you. Remember who He is and what He’s done. God’s grace changes everything for us. Peter tells us that as obedient children, we should not be conformed to the desires of our former ignorance. No matter how the world tells you to live, focus on the truth of the gospel.
Be a Truth-Teller
George Barna puts out an annual study called the American Worldview inventory. He found that though over 60% of Americans claim to be Christian, only 6% of Americans have a biblical worldview. Of Millennials and Gen Z, only 2% have a biblical worldview. As Christ followers, we can’t take Scripture for granted. We must teach the truth of God’s word to a watching world. Even people within our own churches don’t have an accurate worldview that aligns with the Bible. So as we live set-apart lives, resisting conformity, we must also teach those around us how to be set apart too.
The defining mark of our faith should be holiness. Holiness means to be set apart. This is a direct command from God. “Be holy like I am holy.” If it’s up to your own actions and willpower, you will always fall short. But because of what Jesus has done, the Holy Spirit is living inside of you, and He can transform you. He molds and shapes you more and more into Christ’s image each and every day. A significant way this becomes evident is when you conduct yourself in reverence. You will have a reverential fear of who God is and what He can do so that you will live a life of holiness.
In every single area of our lives, we are called to submit in obedience to the Lord. Have you ever seen the bumper stickers that say Jesus is my copilot? The truth is, He’s not the copilot – He is the pilot. In fact, He’s the one who built the plane and the one that’s making the plane fly. We must understand how holy, amazing, wonderful, awesome, loving, and just He is. When we understand all these things about God, this is the reason we live set apart.
Remember You Are Redeemed
You are redeemed. You were bought with a price by the precious blood of Christ. No matter what you’ve done in your life or how many times you mess up, this cannot be taken away from you. Jesus is our sacrificial lamb. Jesus went to the cross and shed his blood so we could be saved. Peter says the motivation to submit every area of our lives to the Lord is that we were bought with the precious blood of the unblemished and spotless Lamb.
This is the identity of every born-again Christian. If you’ve never decided to trust in Christ, you can surrender your life to Him today. God sent his one and only son to die on the cross for our sins. He shed his blood so we would be saved. If you are reading this post and you’ve already given your life to Christ, you might think it sounds overwhelming to live a holy life. Maybe you feel like you’re in a cycle of sin you can’t break free from. If you try to live a holy life in your own strength, you’re going to fail. But that’s why Peter starts by saying we need to transform our minds. We’re not living holy lives to gain God’s approval. Instead, it’s completely the opposite. Once we’ve been bought by the precious blood of Jesus, God looks at us, and He doesn’t see our sins anymore. He sees us clothed in Christ’s righteousness. Instead, the Holy Spirit dwells inside us and empowers us to live on-mission for Him. Will we fail? Of course: we’re sinners. But by the grace of God, we can fix our eyes on Him and embrace our identity in Christ.