Ignorance is a funny thing. If you have it, you usually don’t know you have it. That’s the ignorance of ignorance. But maybe you’ve come face to face with your own ignorance before. A moment where everyone else knew a piece of information but you didn’t, so you showed up to that cancelled meeting or wore shorts to that (apparently) very formal event. I’ve had my share of these kinds of moments, and I can tell you they are not very fun. So when Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 1:14, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” It’s a sobering reminder for all believers; there was a time we all lived in ignorance. All of us.

Earlier this week, my wife and I were sitting outside at a coffee shop, sipping lattes and enjoying the weather, when I noticed a group of people congregating on the street corner not far from our table. I’m a people watcher, so I was naturally curious about what they were up to. There were 10 individuals from various walks of life all huddled near a lamppost. They were each within a foot of one another, yet none of them were speaking or acknowledging the others. Instead, they were glued to their phones. A little strange, but I shrugged it off and went back to my tea. Then, the next time I glanced up, there were 20 people. Then 30. Then 50. Within 30 minutes, a mob of more thsan 100 people was crammed onto that one cross section of sidewalk, all of them just standing there with their noses pressed to their phones. It was quite a sight! Finally, I overheard one of their conversations and, one quick Google search later, I realized what was going on. It turns out I was witnessing a Pokemon Go community-wide event. Everyone there had gathered to this specific location to collect some very rare digital creatures for their Pokemon Go app, which apparently is still a thing. So, as the crowd suddenly scattered in all directions, feverishly tapping their touch screens, I knew exactly what was going on. You could say my ignorance had lifted. All of a sudden, their bizarre behavior made sense. Well, relatively speaking. And while watching this event unfold was pretty entertaining, watching other people watching it unfold was even more entertaining! It was obvious most of the onlookers had no clue what was going on. Why were all these strangers standing in the same spot? Why were they all peering at their phones and pacing in circles? It was like some weird alien phenomenon to them.

The Christian faith can be like that. Back when we were still living in ignorance, it might’ve seemed incredibly bizarre—hundreds of people congregating together on their day off, singing songs and listening to scripture. However, the particular ignorance Peter is describing is an ignorance of hope—of the grace through Christ. Ultimately it’s an ignorance of the Gospel. Look at 1 Peter again, this time starting with verse 13:

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
— 1 Peter 1:13–14

So, when that veil of ignorance has lifted, not only do we see things differently, it prompts us to live differently. That’s what Peter was desperately trying to get through to the church. You’re not ignorant anymore, so stop acting like it! Sadly, too often we slip back into old patterns, where we actually choose to live as though we are still ignorant — ignorant of the life-changing hope of the Gospel.

Ephesians 4 confronts that very line of thinking:

That… is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
— Ephesians 4:20–24

The bottom line is that, if we are to truly live different lives, we must never forget what we know to be true — what we have learned from coming face to face with the love of Christ. Ignorance is not bliss. Bliss comes from embracing the beauty of the Gospel, the hope we have in Christ, and the life-altering truth that we have been called to be different.