Stuff That Needs to Go
1 Peter 2:1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
When I was in fifth or sixth grade I had a favorite shirt that I thought was pretty cool (it was not) and when I wore it, I thought I was pretty cool (I was not). I probably wore it three out of five days a week to school and when it finally disintegrated, it was long past time to retire it. I could not see it at the time, but I needed take off that shirt long before I finally did.
Peter says that I have behaviors today that, like that shirt, need to go. Though I am not the only one who can see them, (my destructive behaviors hurt those around me) I am the only one who can take them off. I daily have to make this choice to take off the old rags I am wearing and I daily have to put on something new. This two-step process is the same that Jesus prescribed when He commanded that I leave behind the old and follow him (Luke 9:23).
Though I may have gone to treatment and am doing well regarding drug addiction, I find that a thousand other defects of self pop up. Peter says it is mine alone to recognize this and to do something about it. I cannot miss this truth; if I do not choose to work on a defect, I have chosen to continue my indulgence in it. If I do not choose to stop eating donuts, speaking harshly to my wife, speaking evil of others or looking at pornography, then I have already chosen to continue those things.
I do not have to accept that my bad behaviors are just a part of who I am. Peter is giving me permission and in fact commanding me to discover and eradicate these defects. I am not responsible for having a defect, but I am responsible for the behavior that springs from that defect. I may not be responsible for a predisposition to lust or using drugs, but I am responsible for my behavior and I am responsible for choosing to do whatever it takes daily to leave behind the old and pursue Christ in me.
I have to admit, when I first read this verse, my mind instantly moved to those whom I knew needed this verse. I know someone who needs to read this… I have been to treatment to work on my defects, now I get to point out the defects of others… Peter however, does not command me to help others with their defects. I cannot change others. I can only work on me and I am to work on my defects alone. It is my responsibility alone to daily choose to put away the pursuit of self and to follow Christ.