Among the common themes of the New Testament, the reader will find a unanimous appeal from all authors to practice nonconformity. If you’re familiar with the standards of quality management systems, that’s a dirty word. No one wants to be guilty of a nonconformity.
But Peter, as well as Paul, gives believers permission to be nonconformists. But of what? He is encouraging his readers to detach themselves from their former lusts. What are these lusts that we are to refrain from?
Without unveiling much of Peter’s letter prematurely, he is of course describing worldly desires. He’s talking about the things we wanted before Jesus freed us from a path of self-gratifying desires. You know, those things that the Bible defines as ‘works of the flesh.’
Paul gives us a list to work by in his letter to the Galatians. “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. Galatians 5:19-21)
But the list isn’t exhaustive. The list includes anything that places the emphasis on us and detracts focus from God. It’s everything that the unregenerate man wants to do.
Instead, Peter says we are to be like obedient children. Remember how simple that was. Mom said do this and we did it. Dad said don’t do that and we didn’t (at least, when we were obedient). Isn’t it amazing how complicated we make things? When Peter makes it so clear (he learned from the very Best by the way), we desperately need a childlike faith.
We hear His voice and we follow.