Thursday, January 7, 2016

Making Progress

My father-in-law used to tell us a story about the time when he was a young man--maybe a teenager--and worked at the refinery his father ran.  The way I remember it, he was hanging out with other guys his age, and they were all talking about their fathers.  They were being rather disrespectful, calling them “my old man.”  Dick spoke up and said something about his “old man.”  Right then, one of the old roughnecks who worked at the refinery came up, grabbed him by the collar, got right in his face and said, “I’d better never hear you say anything like that about your father again.”  I’m sure there were some other choice words included.  I always found it interesting that the roughneck didn’t say anything to the other guys, only to my father-in-law.  The message there was, “Think about who you are, boy.  You should be different from these other losers.” 
Here at the start of 2016, we’re looking at 1 Peter, a letter written to a group of people much like us: They lived in a culture that thought their beliefs were ridiculous, but Peter was giving them no excuses, telling them their lives should be making consistent progress in the right direction.  Are you making progress in your life?  Are you becoming a better person in ways others can see and appreciate?  At the start of a New Year, we often think of ways we want to be better: We want to lose weight or get out of debt, for instance.  And those are all good things.  But they are temporary things.  Our bodies and our bank balances aren't forever.  I am challenging you to do something this year to make progress in your soul.  Last week, we saw how our hope of eternal life helps us make progress.  This week, as we study 1 Peter 1:13-25, we’ll look at how our present identity motivates us to grow.  A big fisherman named Peter has just grabbed you by the collar and is saying, “Think about who you are!  You shouldn't be ordinary.  You should be different.”   In the rest of this message, we’ll answer two questions: In what way are we supposed to be different from other people?  And why?

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