As a Pastor of a local church, I spend a lot of time teaching from the Bible on how to live by faith. The primary function of the Bible is disciple-making. Jesus said His words are “spirit, and they are life”, John 6:63.
Since the beginning of time, mankind has suffered from an identity crisis. When God created man and woman in His image, He instructed them to take care of the land and to be fruitful and multiply. As caretaker’s and procreator’s, Adam and Eve reflected the identity of the one who created them.
Then Satan came along, deceived and convinced them of an alternative identity, which felt good to both man and woman. In choosing this alternative, they rejected their God-given identity, which created a chasm between God and humanity.
What was lost in the garden we regain at the cross!
God, as the creator of every living thing, He understands every molecule, cell, and strand of DNA. This makes Him the sole authority on our true identity.
Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, shares with us key details about this new life, (1 Peter 1:13-21).
#1 Prepare your minds for action.
Action follows thinking. Feed your mind with the right stuff, and the wrong stuff won’t come out. Without changing your thinking, you are guaranteed a relapse in action. A new way of thinking requires intentionality and effort.
You can also be proactive in your thinking not just on the defense taking thoughts captive.
“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.” Philippians 4:8
#2 Be Sober-minded.
Sober-minded means to be watchful and alert. This phrase infers clear-mindedness. We need to guard what we allow into our minds. We are adding to the struggle by feeding our minds with the wrong information.
Peter teaches us that God’s instructions are rooted in grace. This means we are not expected to perfect His commands overnight. God graces us to be transformed.
Transformation is not optional.
For your new identity to prosper, you are to “not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.” Your old desires and identity must cease.
To prepare your minds for action and to be sober-minded prefaces Peter’s main point.
“15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
The word holy comes from the Greek word, hagios. Its fundamental idea is separation or consecration, to share in God’s purity by living set apart.
When God is described as Holy, it means perfection, set apart, morally perfect, and incorruptible. God said in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”
Holiness, as it pertains to you and me, is not perfection; we are to be consecrated, set apart. Holiness is the process of transformation which separates us from the ways of the world.
Not everything or every way of the world is bad, but those ways that are in contradiction to the Word of God must be rejected. We are called to pursue purity, be peace-makers, seek justice, exercise self-control, live humbly with meekness.
The biggest obstacle to being holy is not failure but continued conformity to our old nature.
This is why your mind is the battlefield for your new identity. Whoever controls your mind controls you. Your identity in Jesus is predicated on renewing your mind.
Peter’s final instruction in securing our new identity is to “conduct yourselves with fear.” Have you ever come across a Bible verse that makes you wonder, “what???”
- God so loved the world…
- God wishes that none should perish, but all have eternal life…
- Jesus wept… and then “conduct yourselves with fear.”
Peter uses the strongest term to convey the seriousness of transformation. When the Bible uses the term fear in relationship with God and His followers, it does not mean dread.
Peter informs us that when we get to heaven, there will be no smooth talking our way around not being transformed. Your activity will be the evidence of whether you had faith or just knowledge.
In Matthew 7, Jesus says not everyone who says to Me “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. It’s God’s will that you be a new creation in Christ.
God’s plans are to prosper you and to give you hope and a future, Jeremiah 29:11. Your new identity is tailor-made for you by God to bring out the best and most fulfilling version of you!