It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the midpoint of Summer break! Half of 2019 is already over! In light of this midway point, perhaps we should look back just a moment at the first half of the year. We started off the year looking at P.O.W.E.R. — why do Christians who serve a God of Power often lack it themselves?  How can we experience more of God’s power in our lives? P. – Prayer, O. – Oneness/Unity. W. – Word (God’s Word), E. – Enthusiasm, R. – Reconciliation — Are we practicing/experiencing these things in our daily walk?  We took a long Journey to the Cross, following Jesus’ journey, and then realizing He invites us to take that journey as well.  These are some of the main themes that we have been walking together through as a church the first half of this year…so if you would please allow me to ask you an important question: How’s It Going? Are you still remembering to revisit these items and attempting to put them into practice?  Or have you moved on to summer vacation mode?

Now I’m not waging my finger at you — I’m just pointing out that we can often lose ground on territory we’ve already crossed if we don’t continually remind ourselves to keep working it all out. It’s easy to get into school mode…we learn from January to May then take June and July off, and then back to school in the Fall! But for the follower of Jesus, class is always in session! Peter puts it this way to the early followers of Jesus,

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16)

He says, “Prepare your minds for action.” I love that phrase.  In the Greek, it literally means, to gird up the loins of your mind…or if I could render it in more modern English “pull up the pants of your mind!”  Don’t get caught with your pants down!  Get your mind in gear, engage your thoughts on Jesus! When our minds are set on vacation, they often become dull, thinking only of this world and its pleasures, we can lose sight of God’s Kingdom and the urgency of the call of our Lord Jesus.

Secondly he says, “do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.” Don’t go back to where you were…don’t lose ground on your personal growth.  You’ve already learned a different way of thinking and acting — it’s time to move forward, not backward. As Jesus’ followers, we cannot go back to the life we once knew. We renounced those ways when we chose a life of following Jesus. If there is one thing that modern followers of Jesus struggle with, perhaps more than our forefathers in the faith, is walking in holiness. We all understand that we are fallen people — sinners saved by grace. However, we have been given a new identity, a transformed life, that we now must continually live out by faith in Christ’s completed work and the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying power. Grace covers ALL our sin.  I will say it again, grace covers ALL our sin, but grace does not cover our evil intentions to walk a crooked path when we know better (Gal. 5:13, 19-21). The “passions of our former ignorance” must be crucified (Gal. 5:24), nailed to the cross, so that we no longer pick them up…that’s how we take up our cross daily and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). Let us not give any more ground back to the Enemy of our souls, but let us continually let the Holy Spirit take new territory in our personal transformation towards holiness.

So, let’s all shake off the sand from the beach and wash the chlorine and salt out of our hair — let’s prepare our minds for action, leaving our former ignorance behind and let us look forward to the second half of the year with an aim, a goal, a mission — being Holy, just like our Lord Jesus.

Posted in From the Pastor's Desk.