The moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we experience a life change that is nothing short of seismic. It is not surprising, therefore, that this spiritual awakening is frequently described as a “rebirth.” In acknowledging God as our Father, we are, in fact, born again — to him.
As one who experienced this awakening as an adult, my acceptance of Christ was particularly liberating. I was freed from the daunting illusion of responsibility for controlling my life. I was unshackled from the spiritual restlessness and doubts that had been constant, unwelcome companions for decades. And, I was granted the redemptive embrace of God’s love.
This liberation, however, is not just a freedom from; it is also a freedom to. In accepting Christ, we are also accepting a heightened responsibility for our actions. As we receive God’s love and forgiveness, we must also let go of the ignorant behaviors that preceded our awakening. No longer are we to be governed by our selfish whims and desires, for we now know that God calls us to act intentionally by shaping our conduct.
In the second week of the Out of Place series, guest speaker Dr. Calvin Sweeney, pastor of The Tabernacle Toledo church, shared that when we know we’re meant to be different, we can live intentionally out of place. Today, LivingItOut examines the second of Dr. Sweeney’s four suggestions for living intentionally out of place: Shape Your Conduct.
1 Peter 1:14 (NIV)
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
Sadly, forgoing the temptations of a self-centered life can indeed seem “out of place” in today’s society. All around us, we witness examples of people who rationalize selfish behaviors in pursuing a life of consumption. Of course, Christ followers are not immune to these temptations. But, we know that despite the internal and external pressures we face, God desires us to be holy. And this compels us to steel our mind against the lures of sin, relying on the Holy Spirit to give us the necessary strength.
As we’ve been exploring in the Out of Place series, 1 Peter speaks eloquently to the importance of shaping our conduct by redirecting our mind to focus on God’s priorities. The Baker Bible Commentary observes that “God calls us to be different, because he is different,” adding, “if we are God’s, we will begin to bear his likeness in every aspect of life.”
Shaping our conduct is an essential element of bearing God’s likeness and living our faith. In short, when we say “yes” to the Father, we must say “no” to our old ways of living to satisfy our own desires.
Are you living your faith intentionally, or merely rationalizing “good intentions?”
What steps can you take today to shape your conduct more intentionally?
Set aside time this week to consider how your conduct aligns with God’s calling to be holy and separate from the rest of the world. As you read 1 Peter, note the author’s emphasis on the challenges and necessity of living our faith intentionally. The business of shaping our conduct is not easy, but it is an essential and worthwhile component of our walk with God.
As we continue through 1 Peter this week, we focus today on 1 Peter 2. We encourage you to read through this chapter in your Bible. Or, you can listen to it through the StreetLights Bible. You can download the app or visit streetlightsbible.com.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your love, your grace, and your holy example. Grant me the wisdom and desire to shape my conduct and to step boldly into living “out of place.” Amen.
This post was written by Todd Romain. Todd enjoys sharing life with his wife Jessica and their family and serving at CedarCreek. He is a communications director at Owens Corning and enjoys reading, writing, music, and sports in his spare time.
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