Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22 (NIV).
Did you realize that Jesus uses Godly behaviors to purify? It’s true. When we demonstrate the kinds of behavior that God wants us to live out to be made holy, we are being purified. Self-control, patience, empathy, understanding, obedience, submission to God: living in the ways Jesus lived His life separates us from the impurities that corrupt our earthly lives. It’s not just that we are demonstrating that we believe in Jesus. Instead, we are showing others how believing in Jesus can make our world a more peaceful place.
We do that through love.
I grew up in the 1970s, after the tumultuous 60s when the pop culture espoused peace and love without understanding what those two things really were. Peace isn’t just the absence of conflict, and love isn’t just what happens when hormones are active. The only real peace and love in this world are to be found in Jesus. We don’t get them with long hair, beads and Roman sandals (or even Merle Haggard), free marijuana, “free love,” or free expression.
Peace and love can only come through believing in Jesus, submitting to Him, then letting His word re-direct our lives to serving. We serve best by sharing His peace and love with others by being self-controlled, patient, understanding, and obedient to Him. We flee from destructive behaviors. We give up past sins. We spend more time in His word so as to learn ways to be led by Him in how we deal with others. We repent.
And repenting means turning in a new direction. We move in that new direction by loving from the heart. By giving up selfishness and putting others before ourselves. By finding ways to meet others’ needs while trusting God that He’ll meet ours. By modeling the behaviors that Jesus lived when He walked among us. By following His Spirit when He talks to our consciences or moves us to act.
That’s when we begin to live through love. That’s when real peace begins to spread through the world. That’s the time when our God is purifying us to shine as His gold in a world hard-crusted with impurities. He melts them off us with His mighty but gentle hand, then we get to go share these new/old ways with others so that they might also live in His love and peace.
Our world without Jesus knows no peace. There is no love or peace apart from Him, and apart from Jesus there’s no way we can ever really share meaningful love or peace. How about we move in His direction today?
For further reading: John 13:34, Romans 12:10, James 4:8, 1 Peter 1:23
Lord Jesus, share Your love and peace through my words and actions today. Let my life be a means through which You reach others today.