“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:14-19 ESV
I posted pictures recently and someone commented, “everything is brown.” I mean it is winter, so most areas are brown. The pictures were of my first trip to New Mexico, we had went for a walk up the dormant volcano next to our new home.
I admit I have always like brown, but being my first trip I was easily captured by the scenery. Most everything was one shade or another of brown that I captured in the photos. I still love the contrast of the sky, the mountains that enclose me on every side it seems, and even the brush and cactus that are new sights for this girl from Arkansas. So yea, I’m gonna keep taking pictures of things that are brown.
Today I was out with my camera again. I am still learning all the tools and tricks that are available with my camera. I love taking photos but I have never moved past the auto snap and shoot mode. I can take thousands of pictures, and only come out with a handful that I feel like are worth sharing, and even those are going to at least be cropped if not edited. I know I need to practice with other settings, and that is what I have decided to spend some time doing.
I was trying to capture this bee that kept buzzing around me. I am fascinated with photographers who capture animals up close. I was kind of chasing after him with my camera, the bee eluded me, but maybe the bee was on assignment to take me to something deeper. As I tried to focus in on the bee, something else in all the brown caught my attention. It was a single white rock, untouched by all the dirt that surrounded it. It was in the dirt, but the dirt was not on it.
Similarly, we are in this world but not of it (John 17:16). We are surrounded by the dirt of this world, but are not meant to let the dirt get on us. We are to remain unblemished by the world. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
I have no idea how long this rock had been in this spot, how it got there or where it came from. I only know that I was in the middle of a large open area, surrounded by all things brown (And a few cactus); yet, it was white. It was a stark contract from its surroundings. It is easy to allow myself to be tainted by the anger in the world around me, instead of staying purified by obedience to God’s truth and loving other with a pure heart (I Peter 1:22-23). It is easy to start to focus on the problems instead of the One who holds the solutions (Isaiah 65:24). It is easy to be consumed by the circumstances that are screaming loudly from every direction, and miss the discomfort that comes from beings still and knowing that He is God (Psalms 46:10).
We are called to be a stark contrast to the world around us. This passage tells us to stay unblemished we must:
- Be obedient
- Not be conformed to our former passions before we were believers
- Be holy in our conduct
- Call on God as Father
- Operate in reverential fear of the Lord
- Remember that we were ransomed by the precious blood of Christ
I feel like it is that last one, remembering that it is not in our own standing that we are holy and unblemished but the completed work of Christ’s blood on Calvary that needs to be in the forefront of our mind. I know there will be times that I disobey; but the price Christ paid to ransom, never changes. I know sometimes I may give in to a former passion; the price Christ paid to ransom, never changes. I know sometimes my conduct is less than holy; the price Christ paid to ransom, never changes. I know sometimes I go to God as a last resort instead of calling on Him immediately; the price Christ paid to ransom, never changes. Sometimes my fear is less than reverential; the price Christ paid to ransom, never changes. We can only be unblemished by this world because of the completed work of Christ, and that never changes.