Growing in our salvation is a process…a conscious, everyday struggle of putting off our old self to be made new in the attitude of our minds. (Ephesians 4:22) This verse should convict and challenge us all to look at our conduct, actions, and manner…and free ourselves from the chains of all the negativity. For it tells us later in this chapter, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (Vs 16) Letting loose of negative emotions will unchain you from the past while freeing you for the future.
I Peter 1:15-16 tells us, “But just as He Who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy , because I am holy.’ ” In these Scriptures, Peter is quoting at least three different areas in Leviticus that all say the same thing…Be holy, because I am holy. The Lord is commanding us to reflect His holiness in our own lives, and as far as it’s possible…to live then a life with a pure heart and moral uprightness.
Here Paul was warning about idolatry and falling into temptation. Probably the most conceited thought a Christian can have is, “That couldn’t ever happen to me!” It’s when you think your “beyond” being tempted…that it’ll sneak up behind and bite you. I’m sorry, but no one is immune to temptation and smugly thinking you are above it is only setting yourself up to fail. We all need to be on guard and wary…for our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8)
Some later manuscripts show this verse as saying, “Bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you.” Either translation is a tall order to fill. For we are a people who retaliate at the slightest notion that we’ve been wronged. Taking revenge and repaying evil with evil is touted and even celebrated in today’s social media. But this verse tells us to do the very opposite. And our example should be Jesus, who in I Peter 2:23 demonstrates, “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate, when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” Taking the high road in the face of cruelty may be a clenched fist, gritted teeth type of grace under pressure, but allowing God to fight your battle is worth it in the end.