A few years ago my wife had a very difficult time sleeping one night. We woke up quite early in the morning and it was clear that she was in pain. It was also clear that we needed to go to the hospital. So we left and arrived there around 7:30am. We were hoping that they could see her immediately, if at all possible.
They admitted us fairly quickly, but then we went to the waiting room. We sat there there for a while and nobody came. Finally, I decided to ask somebody what was happening. So, I got up and stopped one of the nurses going by: “Hi”, I said, “we’ve been here quite a while and we’re wondering when my wife may be able to see someone. She’s in a lot of pain.” The nurse looked at the chart and then exclaimed, “Oh my goodness! There was a shift change and your wife has been completely overlooked. We’ll put you back in the queue and someone will see you as soon as possible.” It was now past 8:30 am. So we were placed back in the queue and my wife sat there, sick, and in a lot of pain, until noon. Finally I asked again at noon, “Hey, I wonder if anyone’s going to be able to see my wife?” But, we were told to keep waiting. In the end, we were there past 6:30pm, without seeing anyone. We decided to leave and seek other solutions. .
Sometimes the Christian life feels a lot like that waiting room. It was no fun to sit in those chairs for that length of time and then not to have anyone come and actually see my wife. I felt so bad for her. We often feel that way in the Christian life, that we’re in a waiting room. It seems that we’re waiting for God to do something or to help us in some way. We are often tempted to anger, discouragement, or to give up and walk away.
Be holy because I am holy
Peter addresses this challenge in 1 Peter 1.13-21. He tells us to prepare our minds for action. I probably should have prepared my mind and helped my wife prepare hers for the likelihood of having to wait, once we arrived at the hospital. We would have done better had we done so. In any event, we eventually went to another place, a doctor saw her, and we resolved the problem. So also, Pathway life with Christ can engage us in waiting and learning to trust that God has not forgotten us or that He’s abandoned the queue, so to speak. So, how does God want us to live while we wait on Him for certain things in this life and as we wait on His return to usher in the next? We need to prepare our minds and hearts for discipleship, for waiting on God and being patient through affliction. In short, according to Peter, we need to pursue holiness, Christlikeness.
In verse 14, Peter says, while you wait for Christ to return, “don’t become angry, don’t become frustrated, don’t return to that pattern of life you had before you became a Christian.” He says in verse 15, “”like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all your conduct, for it is written, you shall be holy because I am holy.” Notice what Peter says here. He says, “we cannot return to the greed, immorality, and the way of life characterized by our fallen nature, i.e., our flesh (1 Peter 2:11-12). We can’t go back to that way of life; that’s not who we are anymore in Christ. We have to wait for Him and pursue holiness. As Peter makes clear, “Be holy because God is Holy.”
Holiness simply means that God has set us apart for Himself and since He’s holy and pure, we ought to be holy and pure in all that we believe, think, feel and do. Did you notice that? Peter doesn’t say, “Be pure and holy in the things that you want to be, but be pure and holy in all your conduct.” Every single thing we do is to be marked by purity. Whether it is our relationships with other people or our relationship with God. All we think, believe, feel, and do is to be characterized by purity and holiness, just as God Himself is holy and untainted by sin. This is how we are to live in God’s waiting room.
Peter says, while we’re waiting for Christ to return and the revelation of His amazing grace, we need to learn that Pathway living with Christ is to be characterized by a God-like holiness and purity. Even when we feel like we’re in a waiting room – when we’re disappointed with what God is or is not doing – let us remember our Savior and recall that God has called us to holiness. He is committed to helping us, moment by moment, to fulfill His calling in our lives. He has underwritten our entire growth and sanctification with the blood of His precious and holy Son.
So, as you walk the Pathway with Christ, remember that God has called you to holiness; it is not an option, not a tack-on or an afterthought. It is not for so-called “super-Christians”. Every person who names the name of Christ is to depart from corrupt vices – lying, cheating, stealing, unrighteous anger, malice, hatred, and lust, etc. and by genuine faith put on the virtues of the Lord Jesus Himself (cf. 1 Cor 10:13; Eph 4:17-24; Col 3:5-17; 2 Tim 2:19; 2 Peter 1:3-8). Why? Because He is holy and has given us His Holy Spirit to work holiness and Christlikeness in us. This is our calling in Christ and that is what life on the Pathway is all about. I strongly encourage you to memorize 1 Peter 1:15-16, in their contexts. You can also read verses 1 Peter 1:13-21 and the entire letter as well. Peter’s call to holiness in 1 Peter 1:14-15 reverberates throughout both his letters.