CONCERNING DESIRES OF THE FLESH . . . . Versus the Savor of the Knowledge of God

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 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.” (Reference: 1 Peter 1:13-16 )

[This is an adaption of what I wrote 5 years ago. After yesterday’s diatribe I wanted to see how I dealt with that verse 5 years ago. Turns out it was mostly consistent with what I said yesterday. And since I was looking back, I decided to take a pick at what I said on this verse. I really like what I said, but I thought I could say it even better, so . . . ]

As Peter writes, one must strive to be holy because our God is holy. I do not know about you beloved, but it is not easy for me to be holy. Too often ignorance blind-sides me, and then desires – not evil ones mind you, but unwholesome nonetheless – tempt me. And before you know it, I have missed being holy again.And that jostles me.

It is more soothing to my spirit to read historic Anabaptist Pieter Bruynen when he says, ”Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, watch in prayer, always giving thanks unto God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, for His abundant grace, and that He has made known unto us His will, manifested the savor of His knowledge, and given us the most glorious and precious promises . . ” [Emphasis mine; I will explain further on] It may seem odd that an Anabaptist who was persecuted for living as Christ commanded can make living for Christ an attractive thing – but I think he is on to something. Once one relinquishes a frantic hold on life, everything else seems negotiable. Tend to the fundamentals of Christian life and living, and the rest will follow. Too often we find value in those things that will not last from this world to the next. And that which will carry over from one world to the next we value little and would willing trade away for transitory pleasures.

May that is too a harsh commentary on some people. I know there are many good people who are prepared and have self-control. But there are also many people who value living life on their terms, indulging in practices that make the soul un-holy. But it is that very soul that is the only thing that will truly last. Bruynen knew that the only thing his persecutors could take from his was his life. But he felt beyond any doubt that he was living as God called him to, and by doing that he was insuring that his soul was worthy. And if living for God meant forfeiting his life, but preserving his soul, he would do it.

The writer of 1 Peter says that God says, “Be holy, because I am holy.” What is interesting is that some translations phrase this exhortation as not that our action must mirror God’s, but it is that God’s actions make us holy. That is, if we accept what God has done and who God is and live in our life according to that, then we will be holy.

As to the title of this commentary (and my emphasis in Brunynen’s excerpted writings), I like to think that following God and God’s wisdom is satisfying to our self and our souls. On a figurative and literal plane, God makes us ‘hunger’ for the Lord’s knowledge. And tasting that we will want more. It feeds our souls.

May you ‘feast’ on the Lord, and may your soul never be sated until we are all seated with the Lamb of God at the celebration feast in heaven. Selah!