What a Difference!

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. (1 Peter 1:22a, ESV)

A friend recently shared a new book with me, Joyful Misfits: living a beautiful life in difficult times, by Todd Cantelon. As I explored the first few chapters, I found myself drawn in as Pastor Todd deconstructs 1 Peter verse by verse. Peter offered the followers of Jesus encouragement as they felt the persecution for being different.

Do you want to experience a life with God this year? Are you willing to be different? It’s not hard to spot a male golfer walking through an airport by his hat and clothing, but what is it that makes you stand out as a follower of Jesus?

In his book, Cantelon fleshes out three things he feels become real when we are experiencing the life of God: purity, obedience, and self-giving love. If you’re anything like me, your initial response to these three words might be to see them as common Christian language. But, if you are willing to go on a journey today, you might find a deeper revelation in Peter’s original language like I did.

“Having purified your souls.” I have always read this as something I have to do. Like cleaning off the sweat and dust from a summer day on the course. The original language reads, “having been consecrated.” This is much different. God has done the act of making us pure and set-apart. If this good news is true, how might we live this week (and throughout the year) like we believe we are not perfect but set apart? Is there something new we can pursue at our golf clubs: a new habit, a new friendship, or sharing gratitude more often?

“By your obedience to the truth.” Have you ever considered that God wants you to partner with him? He does! We can do this by being obedient to the truth, which is Jesus himself, the one who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6a).” Our set-apartness comes as we love God and love others. The Holy Spirit invites us into a deeper love relationship with Jesus every day. Will we respond? How can we love someone who crosses our path today?

“Sincere brotherly love.” Authenticrealtrue, and unfeigned are synonyms of sincere. Being genuine is brotherly love. Peter said to love “earnestly with a pure heart.” Sincerity and earnestness highlight the picture of stretching out our hand to others. To love one another sincerely requires work and practice. We must slow down enough to stretch out and love.

Following Jesus makes us different and a target for rejection, whether it be at the golf club, at work, or maybe even in your family. Jesus sees you. You are consecrated (set apart) for him. The Holy Spirit helps you be obedient. And through Jesus, we are capable of sincere love.

Tracy Hanson
January 28, 2021
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