The Struggle Never Ends

As children under obedience, don't shape your lives by the desires that you used to follow in your ignorance. 1 Peter 1:14 (CCNT)

 Desires of the heart is what is being written of here. Desires are born of your thoughts and emotions and come from the heart according to Scripture (Matt: 15; Luke 8). Desires are not always holy and good because they begin corrupted and are fed by the flesh, which is another desire factory.  What desires did you used to follow before Christ redeemed you? There are of course the big unholy desires like fornication and other deeds of the flesh (Gal. 5), but what about those everyday things that we like to pass off as normal human behavior? Those things we followed in our ignorance of God's holy and righteous standards?

How easy it is for us to forget that God's only standard is holy. Not sort of holy, not occasionally holy, not Sunday holy. Holy in all our behavior .

Instead, as the One who called you is holy, you yourselves must become holy in all your behavior.  (1 Peter 1:16)

As I think about that this morning, I am struck by how terribly far away from being holy in all my behavior I am. I am overwhelmed by the remaining sinfulness that still remains in my heart after almost 30 years of living the Christian life.

If we call Him our Father, we must be deeply concerned about how we behave during our residence as an alien here on earth because the cost of our freedom was extraordinarily high. The cost of our freedom from the slavery to sin was the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Our lives are to be lived as a "Thank You" to God, who saved us from having to live in the flesh and saved us from having to be a slave to our sinful desires. We sure don't act that way all the time, do we?

Some of us still struggle with the same sins we thought had been conquered long ago. Some continue to be quick to sin in their anger with cursing and unholy actions. Many think nothing of participating in gossip and slander at work or in social situations, and even step into the realm of the unbelievers with foolish talk and coarse jesting which are out of place (Col).

We involve ourselves in things that are not the business of aliens visiting a strange land. We abandon our true calling for the sake of the temporary pleasures and obey the desires of this present world. Our minds are not "buckled for action" nor are we "keeping level headed" (1 Peter 1:13) and this is evident by our mingling in the things of this world and age.

We must return to the Word for our purification from these things. The Word of God, that is our guide to all things holy, and righteous, and good is the only way you and I can be cleansed in our hearts from the filth and corruption that lurks there. The Word of God is truth, God's truth and until we read it and internalize it at the level of the heart there will be no true desire to leave behind the alien things of this world.

Having cleansed yourselves by obedience to the truth you can have brotherly affection without pretense, so love one another deeply from the heart, having been regenerated not by perishable seed, but by that which is imperishable- God's living and continuing Word. 

It is only when our hearts- our minds- are so completely full of the truth of God's Word that we can to truly live the lives we have been called to live. I think until the point we become committed and wholly sold out to immersing ourselves in the Word we are just dancing around the edges of what God has done for us. I truly believe we are cheating ourselves of the wondrous live God has enabled us to have.

Now,this is the Word that was announced to you as good news. 1 Peter 2:25b

Do you remember that good news? Does the good news still impact your heart as it once did? When you think of Jesus coming to earth as a baby, and dying on the cross for your sins 33 years later, is your heart still stirred as it once was; or is it simply a dry and sterile fact you now believe?

Does the reality of your predestination still cause you to be in awe of what a great God He is? When you read Ephesians 1 are you amazed and overwhelmed with thankfulness? If not, then I think you can see the reasons you struggle so deeply with everyday life in this foreign land. It has stolen away a piece of your heart. You have become immersed in its culture, and the things of this land have become more important to you than the things of your Homeland.