Where Does Your Obedience Lie?
A feeling of desire for something to happen… that’s what hope means. In the culture we live in, hope can feel so distant and unattainable. We see the shape of the world we live in, and barely recognize it as what it was only a decade ago. And yet, the embers of hope never seem to extinguish, do they? We put hope in so many things, longing for the best case scenario, longing for things to go our way. We place our hope in our finances, our marriages, job status, political leaders and policies, even our health. For me, I’ve gone through stages where I rely and hope in different things more significantly than others.
When you think of the word “hope,” does the word “obedience” come to mind? I wouldn’t have put them together. It was a concept I didn’t think fit, yet God placed them tightly knit together in the book of 1st Peter.
At the beginning of 1 Peter 1, we learn that Jesus is our ultimate hope!
Do you realize what that means? At the end of our lives on earth, we will spend eternity with our God and Savior FOREVER. Seriously, we know the end of our story, and it’s a good one, as long as you have accepted Jesus as your savior. Because of His redemptive love and sacrifice, we know that we have victory in the end! Can we shout that again?!
We have victory!! God wins
This hope is what gives us confidence that we are a part of God’s great story with the happiest ending of all! If you haven’t read the first section of 1 Peter 1, I recommend you do that now. And when you finish, you can come back to this!
The beginning of 1 Peter 1 is all about hope, and in the second part of the chapter, we learn about obedience. These verses are calling us to our role in this amazing story written by God. God calls us to holiness! It’s an intimidating call, but when we fully realize precisely how powerful God is and the immense grace He has for us, obedience is a response.
What’s something you place your trust and hope in right now on earth besides God? Everyone’s list probably looks a little different.
In the past, more heavily but still sometimes now, I place a lot of hope in my health. I hold it in high regard (not completely a bad thing). And because of that, I have an overflow of obedience to my health. I try to watch what I eat. What ingredients are in the foods I buy? I portion control and exercise, try to find the best vitamins and supplements. I’m obedient to a lifestyle. The same can be true for any of the above examples. If you hope in your finances, you obey your budget and strive to have that financial security. If you hope in political leaders, you follow the standards they set and promote the causes they also respect. Are you starting to see what I’m saying? Obedience is a natural response to where our hope lies.
Obedience is a natural response to where our hope lies
The devil doesn’t want us to remember that our hope belongs to God. He wants us to think this world is all we have and is enough. He tells us to put our hope and trust in that list above, or anything else you can think of, on top of all our other impulsive desires. Sin is not only all around us but also in our natures. Look what has happened to our world, our country as person after person has put their hope in these things; pure hopelessness. I believe that before we genuinely know God, our ignorance is what keeps us stuck in our sinful patterns and content with the culture of the world and lesser things (v. 14).
In the next few verses, Peter tells us TWICE that we are to be holy just as God is holy. In verse 16, Peter references a verse in Leviticus. After God’s people were delivered from the hands of the Egyptians, He commands them,
“For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground” (Lev. 11:44).
In this passage, God is commanding His people to set themselves apart from the world, rise above the temporary hope, and live in obedience.
Let me back up and repeat what I said above because I want it to stick with you. Because of God’s redemptive love and sacrifice, we know that we have victory! Say it with me one more time: we have victory!! The devil loses. God wins. This victory is what gives us confidence, gives us hope! We are a part of God’s great story with the happiest ending of all! When we have a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ, where we place our hope, holiness and obedience become instinctual and at the forefront of our hearts.
Don’t place your hope in something so futile and fleeting. We find our hope in nothing else but Jesus Christ! Peter continues by reminding us exactly how our ultimate hope was paid; through the blood of Christ, ‘a lamb without blemish or defect’ (v.19) who was ‘raised’ and ‘glorified’ (v.21).
So, where do you place your hope?
Based on your actions, are you finding hope in things of this world that will one day disappear, or are you striving to be more Christ-like? Where does your obedience lie, in your identity, in political parties, or a material gain? I urge you not to walk this dangerous path that leads to hopelessness, but rather, surrender to Jesus! Only one thing will never let you down. And that is the grace of God!