Chosen To Live
13Be alert and think straight. Put all your hope in how God will treat you with undeserved grace when Jesus Christ appears. 14Behave like obedient children. Don't let your lives be controlled by your desires, as they used to be. 15Always live as God's holy people should, because God is the one who chose you, and he is holy. 16 That's why the Scriptures say, “I am the holy God, and you must be holy too.”
17You say that God is your Father, but God doesn't have favorites! He judges all people by what they do. So you must honor God while you live as strangers here on earth. 18You were rescued from the useless way of life you learned from your ancestors. But you know you were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don't last forever. 19 You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb. 20Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, he did not come until these last days. 21And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honored him in a glorious way. This is why you have put your faith and hope in God.
“Live in reverent fear during the time of your exile” (1:17). Exile means living in a place not truly home. To be exiled is to be alienated, perhaps in conditions that sap our ability to actually be the person we long to be. What is the best way to behave in these circumstances? How can I conduct my life most meaningfully where I am, even when things are bad?
This is the writer’s theme in this book. His answer, briefly, is to aspire to holy living in the persistent hope that Jesus will be fully revealed … some day. Until that happens we are to live in “reverent fear” that an impartial judge will one day sort things out … eventually.
We’ll be all right, some day. We’re going home, some day.
In the meantime, however, just sitting around will not do. Inaction is not a Christian option. Believers are to be disciplined, intentional, hopeful and engaged in activities that shun pointless desires (1:18). They are to turn instead to things that are lasting – attitudes and actions appropriate for an audience with the Living God as revealed in Jesus Christ – “so that your faith and hope are set on God” (1:21).
Intentionality seems to matter. Prepare your minds … discipline yourselves … set your hope … embrace new desires … be holy … live in reverent (and hopeful) fear. The goal of holy living and awareness of oneself are keys to surviving and thriving in exile.
The fact is, things change when the living God becomes an important and appreciated part of your life. Desires change. Activities previously enticing and values that had been convincing are now seen as futile and misguided. A relationship with the Creator of all things brings new perspective to all things. The litmus test is love.
O God. Much of what I desire is merely alluring and insubstantial. Help me to discern what truly matters most, the Spirit that animates eternity. Transform my worldview in your image and my conduct to reflect your love. Help me to know where I need to be born anew. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.