1 Peter 1:14,15—As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.
Do you ever wonder why is it so hard to be holy? Why is it so difficult to abstain from sin? The Holy Spirit brought to mind something that was instantly convicting. I sin because I am not focused on honoring God’s will and reputation.
Let me explain. There are many reasons why I engage in conduct or thinking that is unrighteous. If my desire to please my flesh exceeds my desire to please God I will sin. If I allow a pattern of sin to develop, it is easier to conform to that pattern than it is to reform my actions. If I feel deprived, neglected, or mistreated I rationalize sin because my focus is on my needs. If I have sinned before and received forgiveness, I can excuse sinning again for more forgiveness. Notice, the focus is always on me—and that is the fearful essence of the dilemma.
Remember when Eve and Adam disobeyed God’s edict not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-6)? Their desire to eat what was forbidden won the day. Neither Eve nor Adam considered it unthinkable to dishonor God. Satan successfully deceived them because they obsessed on what was off-limits in the midst of paradise!
In contrast, Jesus walked a holy life completely surrounded by sin. He resisted the temptations of Satan (see Matthew 4:1-11). He refused to submit to any desire contrary to the will of His Father. He fulfilled heaven’s plan enduring brutal personal injury. Therefore, He could say with authority to us, “Be holy, because I am holy.” Jesus was and is holy because He was and is wholly focused on honoring His Father.
The Apostle Paul, a man well versed with sin, wrote the Galatians, “I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Like Jesus, the Spirit is wholly focused on honoring the Father. All of His counsel conforms to God’s plan.
Jerry Bridges inThe Discipline of Gracewrote:
If we are to succeed in putting sin to death, we must realize that the sin we are dealing with is none other than a continual exalting of our desire over God’s known will . . . our attitude toward sin is more self centered than God centered . . . we do not take some sin seriously.
Os Guinness noted in The Call,“ Sin is ‘the claim to the right to myself’—and therefore ‘the claim to my right to my view of things’—and therefore the root of a profound and inescapable relativism.” When my focus is singular in honoring God’s will and reputation I can set aside my rights and avoid sin. When I listen to the Spirit, I cannot sin.
Lord, help me to put Your reputation, Your honor, Your will always first and in front that I might not sin against You!
©2015 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)