April is L-Plate month, where I’ve turned over this website to my students. They are studying an introductory preaching subject this semester, and writing for this website is part of their assessment, as well as a learning exercise for them. I’m hoping you’ll interact with them a bit via the comments function at the bottom of each post, offering some feedback. (Particularly, feedback that’s constructive or affirming – they’ve got me to deliver the negative stuff! Remember, some of them will never have preached before, and some have English as their second language.) They will then incorporate this feedback in a sermon they present in class at the end of semester.
We continue today in 1 Peter.
1 Peter 2:11-12 | Dan Cattell
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Too often we forget what is at stake. We are people designed for His glory, yet live in a world polluted with ‘quick fixes’ and ‘band-aid’ solutions to our deepest desires. When we live the way we were created to, not only are our own soul’s satisfied, but His goodness is also revealed through us.
The letter of 1 Peter, was written to the people of God, reminding them of their calling in Christ, to stay obedient in their journey of faith. Previously in 1 Peter 2 we are described as a “royal preisthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” to be set apart and know that not only are our own lives at stake, but the Glory of God revealed through us is under threat.
The unseen world too often gets lost as we forget the severity of the war the human soul is caught up in this life. We lose sight of our reality. We are at risk of our sinful desires being fulfilled in the things of this world, rather than finding Him to be our greatest satisfaction.
It is how we act on our desire’s that either reject or magnify His glory.
Our desires what lie at the heart of our actions, and it is through our actions that people see the Glory of God revealed through us. In second Corinthians we are commanded to ‘take every thought captive’ so that our obedience to Christ may be held intact.
Peter was writing to the people of the diaspora, the scattered population of Christians, and challenging them to their a calling of life. If the way people see the glory of God is our responsibility, we need to understand the weight of that call. We need to be brought back to the reality, that our very soul’s are on the line and that the struggle of this life, is due to the fact that this is the not world we were created for. This world is full of struggles, and our sinful nature often points us to quick fixes and things that would seem to fulfil us but never does. Peter calls us ‘aliens’ and foreigners of this world and when we realise our inheritance is in heaven, and our greatest authority is in Christ, the authority of our sinful desires become diminished.
Previously in 1 Peter 2 we are described as a “royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” to set us apart and know that not only are our own lives at stake, but the Glory of God revealed through us is under threat.
We are in a war
We need to remember as the people of God, that we were created for Heaven, but caught up in between heaven and earth in this life. The things of this earth will not fully satisfy our deepest desires, and that it is our responsibility to uphold the will of God in our lives.
We need to hold onto this perspective and realise that the Christian walk will not be easy. Peter uses the word ‘war’ to make our present reality something we are so aware of that we will not shy away from our higher calling, and our deepest desires being satisfied in Him.
In Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis, he demonstrates how the things of this earth will never satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts, and how that then points to our design for heaven: “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
We need to hold onto this perspective and realise that the Christian walk will not be easy. The things of this world will pull people away from who He is as we get caught up in personal gain, rather than remembering that He is the centre of our lives. The one constant. And that the reason for our lives is to bring Him glory, not ourselves.
Our lives as Christians, should look radically different to the world around us, as our lives are not for our own Glory. We are called to resist the temptations and ‘quick-fixes’ of this world, simply because we know the truth that our desires will not be met, by anything other than God Himself. James 4:7 says to ‘resist the devil and he will flee from you,’ and the truth is that when we understand the responsibility we have to save our very souls and uphold His glory through how we deal with our desires, the devil will lose its influence in our lives.
The more our minds are on the things of Heaven, and the complete satisfaction found in knowing Him, the less our sinful nature will control our behaviour, and thus the greater Glory will be revealed in God, through us His people.
The way we interact with our colleagues, our family and everyone we come into contact with in this life is an opportunity to glorify God.
It is through the outworking of our lives, that God’s glory will be revealed through us, to the people we come into contact with.
In all things we are to point glory towards Him. Whether it is through our generosity, the way we interact with others, or the way we endure suffering, people should look at our lives and see our aim as to humble ourselves in the pursuit of Gods glory, which is the ultimate