1 Peter 1:14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Here the apostle Peter challenges believers to embrace the new way of living that comes from following Jesus – a lifestyle he describes as “holy”. When I think of myself I certainly don’t think of myself as “holy”. However, I DO believe that the one who lives in me and all believers, the Holy Spirit, is holy. It’s by the power of the Spirit to overcome our sinful nature that any of us has a chance to grow more and more into the likeness of Jesus. Without the power of the Spirit – not gonna happen.
And, in truth, I still struggle.
One area of struggle for me is responding in a timely manner to promptings of the Holy Spirit. I’m talking about those little nudges you get on the inside to do or say something for the sake of another – because the Spirit wants us to love other people the way God loves other people. Yesterday is a good example.
I was at a local supermarket waiting behind a young man at the checkout line, along with several other people waiting behind me. This young man was dressed in a supermarket uniform, so he was either going on break or leaving for the day. I’m pretty sure he was just going on break. Anyway, he had two large Red Bulls and a bag of peanut M&Ms. When the clerk rang up his bill, it was $5.91.
Well, at this point the young man told the clerk he’d be putting the M&Ms back because he only had $5. He said he hadn’t gotten his check yet (it was Friday yesterday) so he’d have to wait until he got off work to get paid and eat something.
Now, normally I don’t pay attention to conversation around me. Seriously. I just tune it out, perhaps because it’s none of my business and I don’t want to be nosy. But in this case I noticed this entire conversation happening in front of me – maybe because I was getting annoyed that it was taking so long. (Hey, don’t judge me, just being honest)
As the young man was putting his M&Ms back onto the shelf next to us I discerned a prompting on the inside that was like, “Buy it for him”. And I admit my initial thought was, “I don’t want to buy him M&Ms for lunch. Not a good choice.” The checkout line is right next to a deli counter with nice sandwiches that would be much better. Well, as I’m debating with the voice inside of me the young man is about to walk off. No more time to argue. So, I grabbed the bag of M&Ms he had put back and handed them to him saying, “I got this”. He just smiled and said “thanks” and walked off – with his two Red Bulls in hand as well.
Why am I telling you about this? The event in itself was not a big deal. I mean, the M&Ms cost a whopping $1.50. Not gonna break the bank. There were two things I thought about as I walked back to my car.
First, I thought about my own son Nick who is 20 years old and going to college in North Carolina. This young man was about that age. I thought, if my son were in a similar situation, I’d hope some old guy like me would buy him something to eat – even if it was a bag of M&Ms.
Secondly, I wondered why I had been there arguing with the voice inside of me instead of just doing what I was told. I could tell clearly this was the voice of the Lord. That voice just sounds different than other voices. But I resisted to the point of almost missing the opportunity to care for someone in a small way.
I want to be the sort of person that responds immediately to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and doesn’t think too much – but I’m not there yet. It’s a key growing edge for me.
What about you? What is your growing edge? What part of you still resists the process of becoming more like Jesus? Think about it. And now, let’s pray about it.
Lord Jesus, we really do want to become more like you each day, but we don’t find that easy. In fact, in our own strength it is impossible. Give us grace today to listen to the voice of your Spirit living inside of us, and do what it says. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.