March 11, 2009

Transformation Takes Effort

1 Peter 1:13-16

Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled.
1 Peter 1:13


We often prize the wonders of ability. The star athlete has amazing physical abilities. The Harvard scholar has phenomenal mental abilities.

But if we don’t put our abilities to work, we won’t accomplish much. If we want change, we have to be willing to work for it. If we don’t put in enough effort, we won’t bring about any positive change.

Authors who have written a stack of books will tell you that the secret ingredient was the effort it took to get up earlier each day to write. Great inventors will relate the effort it took to bring an idea to its finished product. Sports figures will tell you to practice, practice, practice.

The Christian life is 100 percent God’s work. The resurrection of Christ runs through our veins. But the Christian life is also 100 percent human effort.

Peter urges us to first prepare our minds for action. The Greek expression here literally means to pull up one’s robe and get ready for action.

Then Peter instructs us to persevere all the way to the end through self-control. We have to continue to be obedient through responsible effort.

The Christian life is hard work from beginning to end. Transformation takes our mental powers, our willpower, and our muscle power.

But thankfully even our human effort is a gift of God.

Lord, thank you for providing us with tremendous potential. Give us the motivation and desire we need in order to be faithful to our calling to serve you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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