The Apostle Peter reminded me of something I seem to forget far too quickly–I am in a war. Consider these verses:
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in ignorance” (1:14).
“Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul” (2:11).
“so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (4:2).
“For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Genitles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries” (4:3).
We all know that one of the main themes of 1 Peter is that of suffering to the glory of God. The persecution of Christians had begun in earnest. Peter’s deep desire was that the believers would exalt the Lord (2:12; 4:16). However, it is also clear that Peter noticed an alarming trend in the professing believers of Asia Minor, namely, their inability or refusal to fight against sin, to wage war against fleshly lusts. They were giving in too quickly. They were losing battles too frequently. As a result, Peter took the time to remind them of the fuel for fighting. Don’t we all need the “why” in the midst of war?
Christians are to prepare their minds for action, keeping sober, fixing their hope completely on future grace which will be received at the next coming of Jesus Christ (1:13 [notice the wartime command in 1:14 above]). We are to live holy lives (1:15,16) because the Father will indeed judge our deeds and because we have been redeemed with “precious blood” (1:18)! How’s that for fuel?! He continued, stating that believers are to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul because they are “aliens and strangers” (2:12). He described the new identity of Christians in the preceding verses, calling us (1) a chosen race, (2) a royal priesthood, (3) a holy nation, (4) a people for God’s own possession (2:9 [all–by the way–Old Testament designations for Israel now applied to the New Testament Church]). In other words, our new identity should provide the fuel we require for a wartime mentality. The following verse–1 Peter 2:12–adds further fuel by exhorting believers to “excellent behavior” so that God might be glorified. Finally, fuel is given in the first part of chapter four. We are to live our lives to the will of God (4:2). Our past sins and sinful patterns should be just that–PAST. We’ve spent enough time on sinning! It’s time to spend more time on fighting (4:3)!
Do you want motivation to win the battles you will face today and this week? It’s all there! I stopped my list at seven. Surely there are more. Think about these reasons the next time you are tempted to sin. Rather than reinvent another reason why you are not able to resist, refuel!
Refuel and fight!
If you have another minute, navigate over to the Quick Takes page for an important military strategy in this war.