Dare To Be Different - 2
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
1 Peter 1:13-25
At the Fish House we have just begun a new series from 1 Peter called InCourage.
It's about bold living in tough times.
The purpose of this series is to encourage you to live a life of courage, because it takes courage to be a Christian in recovery.
There are times when you have to stand alone against the crowd.
· When the rest of the world is saying No, you've got to be the one to say yes.
· When the rest of the world says Retreat, you've got to be the one saying Charge.
· When the rest of the world cries for revenge, you've got to take a stand for mercy.
Living as a Christian in recovery calls for living a life that is different.
That's what Christian recovery is—being different from the rest.
William Barclay, in his commentary on 1 Peter, talks about how the root word for holy is the same as the root word for different or being set apart. Separated from the world, from sin, we too are separated from drugs, booze or our chosen addiction whether it is heroin to Ho’s Ho’s.
The temple was holy because it was different from all other buildings.
The Sabbath was holy because it was different from other days.
Christians in recovery are set apart and different because we are, ideally, different from other people.
There are a number of different ways Christians try to accomplish this.
In some churches the men wear polyester suits and the women long dresses and beehive hairdos—they think that is a sign of being different.
Other churches play only music from 50's—the 1850's.
They think anything contemporary is worldly and, therefore, unholy.
Some churches don't allow members to watch movies, or listen to popular music, or read secular books, and on and on and on.
But as you have heard me say before, that's not really what being holy is about.
God has something completely different in mind.
Yes he wants you to be different, but not just on the surface: he wants you to be different from the inside out.
Today we're going to take a look at what that means.
In the last half of 1 Peter 1 there are three principles for holiness that we can pick up on.
Let's take a look. Being holy means being different, and that means, first of all, that we must...
1. Accept responsibility for our lives.
Listen to what Peter says...
(v. 13) So think clearly and exercise self-control.
The NIV states it this way...
(v. 13) Prepare your minds for action.
Peter goes on to say...
(v. 14) Obey God because you are his children. Don't slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn't know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be his children—is holy. For he himself has said, "You must be holy because I am holy."
Peter begins this passage by emphasizing our responsibility—
ü Be ready,
ü Be clear-headed,
ü Be set-apart.
ü It's your job;
ü It's your responsibility.
Do you want your recovery to be different than the rest?
Accept responsibility for where you are in life.
Be willing to say,
"I'm here today because of the decisions I have made”
“I'm here today because of the actions I have taken”
“I am responsible for who I am”
This will certainly separate your recovery from the crowd.
Do you want to be different than the rest?
Accept responsibility for where you are going in life
ü make it your job to do right,
ü make it your job to take action,
ü make it your job to get things done
That will certainly separate you from the crowd.
Have you noticed that we live in a world that doesn't want to take responsibility?
Our society is so hard-wired for blame it's hard to imagine any other response to most situations.
You get coffee at the drive-thru, balance it on your lap as you're driving down the highway talking on your cell phone and putting a CD in the stereo, and the coffee spills and burns your legs.
Whose fault is it?
McDonald's, of course.
Their coffee is too hot!
I asked my friend who was in a traffic accident whose fault it was. He said, "It was my wife's fault." I said, "I thought you were driving." He said, "I was, but she called me on my cell phone, and when I went to answer it I swerved and hit another car. If she hadn't called me, I wouldn't have had the wreck." Now, he was joking—but sometimes that's how foolish our blame game sounds.
It's a question of responsibility.
It's a matter of looking at our lives and saying, "You know what? This is my job to do and I'm going to do it. It's my job to obey, and I will stop blaming others for my failures. It's my job to take action, and I will stop being lazy. It's my job to think clearly and today I will start”
Being a Christian in recovery means accepting responsibility for yourself and your actions.
This is why people who are recovering Christians are different.
Secondly, we must learn to...
2. Expect results for our actions.
(v. 17) And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he judges. He will judge or reward you according to what you do
a. God doesn't show favorites.
When it comes to our relationship with God, we live in a cause-and-effect world. It may not work in other areas—investments don't always pay off, in relationships you may not get back what you put in, diets and exercise don't always work like you expect them to...but with God, the equation A+B=C always works. It works for everyone, not just for some. We are not held accountable to different standards—no one sins without consequences or does good without a reward.
b. He paid your ransom.
God has, you might say, a vested interest in seeing you become clean and sober, set-apart.
Because we have been held hostage by our addictions, by the master of our addictions – Satan.
But guess what we have been set free because God our ransom –
Listen to Peter's words...
(v. 18) for you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
God wants to see you become holy—so much so that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins. So when you hear that God plays no favorites, remember that this applies not only to the fact that sin has its consequences; it applies also to the fact that God will reward your righteousness. He paid your ransom, and for this reason you can expect results for the actions of your daily life.
c. He conquered death.
When it comes to expecting results, most significant is the fact that Jesus conquered death.
(v. 21) Because God raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory, your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God.
Peter touches on this theme frequently throughout his letter: because Jesus Christ conquered death, he can help you conquer life. Since he has power over death, you can trust him with the details of your life. That's why we can be sure that in God's economy A+B always equals C—because Jesus has power over death. He is not a victim of circumstances like we are. He holds the keys and he is in control. You can expect results from him; he is faithful. Being holy means being different, and that means that we must...
3. Ignite relationships with God's love.
Do you know where your recovery is most evident? It's not in your clothes or your hair or on the bumper of your car.
It's in your relationships.
It's in how you treat the people in your life.
Listen to Peter's words...(v. 22) Now you can have sincere love for each other as brothers and sisters because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News.
He continues...(v. 22) So see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts.
You want to start taking steps toward recovery?
Ignite your relationships with God's love.
“The essential part of Christian recovery lies in giving your heart wholly to God." I think we can add to that statement: expressing true recovery lies in sharing your heart with others.
Frederick Agar said, "Love never asks how much I must do; love asks how much I can do."
St. Augustine said this...”What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. This is what love looks like.”
We need to practice this love with strangers throughout the world, of course, but today here is my challenge to you.
Practice this with the people you know—helping them, looking for ways to meet their needs, discerning where they hurt, and listening to what they say.
Men, try this with your wife...try it with your kids.
Bosses, try it with your employees.
Teachers, try it with your students.
Look for ways to ignite each relationship with love:
Another way to say it is "Pay Attention."
Do you want to ignite your relationships in the power of holiness? Pay attention to others.
God said, (v. 14) "You must be holy because I am holy."
In Christ we have an example to live by.
And in Christ we have the power to live.
Once you take responsibility for where you are in life, and once you make an effort to ignite your relationship with God's love, Jesus Christ—through the very same power than raised him from the dead—will fuel and energize your life and enable you to live a life pleasing to him. It's a result you can expect.
John Ruskin said, "The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it."
That's how holiness works in your life; that's God's greatest reward—you will become the person he made you to be...if today you are willing to dare to be different.