Prayer is the key to walking in the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit is the key to looking more and more like Jesus Christ, and looking more and more like Jesus Christ is the key to hearing the Father declare, “Well done my good and faithful servant; this is another one of my sons in whom I am well pleased.”
In Peter’s epistle, doxology transitions to duty. Peter reminds his readers of God’s gracious compassion; this is followed by his reminding them of God’s good commands. Christians are to be holy in their thoughts, actions, and relationships. Here are his inspired words:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 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.” … Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God … (1 Peter 1:13-25)
So with these three exhortations in mind, let us strive to be holy children and please the Heavenly Father. His desire is the same whether one finds himself in the one or new versions of his one Covenant of Grace. Whether one is gathered with Moses at Mount Sinai or with Peter in Asia Minor, all believers should hear the Father saying, “Be holy for I am holy.” And while the Heavenly Father makes it his gracious practice to save unholy people and declare them “holy” due only to the lifework and crosswork of Jesus, and while the Heavenly Father makes some adjustments, amendments, or abrogations in what good and acceptable worship looks like, holiness in thoughts, actions, and relationships remains God’s expectations and delight.
Let us also look to the Son when seeking to determined that which his holy. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Logos in John’s Gospel and the Faithful Witness in John’s Revelation. He is the Angel of the Lord who leads Israel in the truth at Sinai, and he is the perfect Image of God who leads the New Israel in the truth in Palestine. He is the King, he is the Priest, and he is the Prophet; and through his works and words we learn how to be holy. So, as we are seeking to be holy in all our thoughts, actions, and relationships, let us look at and listen to the one who walked in our shoes, yet without sin. Scripture presents to us the holy manner of the Holy Man who is to be our holy example.
However, today, as we seek to please the Father and resemble the Son, let us walk in the Holy Spirit. It is he who regenerates, fills, and fruits. Faith and faithfulness flow through him. So valuable is the Holy Spirit that Jesus declared it was good for him to leave so the Holy Spirit might come. Therefore friends, as we walk in the Spirit, keep step with the Spirit, live in the Spirit, abide in the Spirit, and read and meditate through the Spirit, as we fan into flame the gift given to us, we should not be surprised to find ourselves becoming more spiritual. And what exactly does such a “Spirited” day look like? Prayer is the key!
- Pray as soon as your eyes open while still in your bed.
- Pray as the hot water falls upon you in the shower.
- Pray before, during, and after reading the Word of God in your morning private place.
- Pray in Christian song as you are driving your car to school or work.
- Pray when tempted to sin; use temptation as a call to worship.
- Pray when temptation is followed by sin; confession is good for the soul.
- Pray before your meals; three meals should be three reminders to praise God for his bountiful care.
- Pray as you meditate upon and memorize a Scripture verse for the week.
- Pray through a prayer list, class list, membership list, or roster; lift up others in prayer.
- Pray with your family.
- Pray as you retire for your nightly sabbath.
Yes, prayer is the key to walking in the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit is the key to looking more and more like Jesus Christ, and looking more and more like Jesus Christ is the key to hearing the Father declare, “Well done my good and faithful servant; this is another one of my sons in whom I am well pleased.” Yes, I am confident that if we less time grieving and quenching the Spirit, and more time keeping step with the Spirit — who fills and fruits — we will find ourselves growing in holiness. Those who walk in the Spirit and pray without ceasing are steadily improved. It is they who worship well by being progressively holy in more of their thoughts, actions, and relationships.
Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.