We spent this week exploring 1 Peter. What a treasure trove of wisdom and encouragement! God used this little book mightily in me this week, and I'm so glad to have spent some time in these verses.
We were asked to choose one verse each day for meditation. Here are mine:
Day 1 - 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. (1 Peter 1:13 ESV)
Day 2 - Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:16-17 ESV)
Day 3 - Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3-4 ESV)
Day 4 - Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:19 ESV)
Day 5 - Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV)
I wanted to focus specifically on 1 Peter 5, though the entire book was just perfect for where I'm at these days. I'm so thankful that God provided His words to me at the right time.
1 Peter 5 is initially directed at the leaders of the church, the shepherds of God's flock. The encouragement is to lead humbly, not for personal gain, not domineering, but being examples of Christ. Peter reminds the leaders in v4 of why they should behave this way: there is a Chief Shepherd! He will return one day, and his faithful servants will receive the crown of glory. My husband is the pastor of our church. This passage gives me great examples of how to pray for him as he leads God's people as well as assurance that every pastor is truly an under-shepherd that is called to faithfully serve the Chief.
Peter begins to wrap up his letter, but he has many important reminders thrown together in v6-11. Humility is a Christian word, one that not many people use outside of churches. We've been working on teaching our son the meaning of humility and have tied it very closely to being teachable. Here Peter ties the idea of humbling yourself first to the mightiness of God. Be humble because God is awesomely powerful, mighty to save, more than able to meet your needs. Next Peter says be humble so that God might exalt you at the proper time. Show the world that your treasure is Christ and that God's promises are true by being humble in the face of suffering and persecution. Peter says demonstrate your humility by casting all your cares on God because He cares for you. How we handle our daily stresses reveals our hearts. If we believe that we can carry the world, we will be on edge, constantly planning and attempting to control our circumstances. But Peter calls us to a different life. One that says, God, I know I'm incapable of changing my situation. I'm even incapable of changing myself. However, Your Word says that you care for me, that you will keep me, and that you will not give up on me. A humble life embraces these truths and trusts in God to complete the Spirit's work in our lives.
Verse 10 sums it all up: And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
I'm so thankful that God chose to preserve this encouraging letter from Peter for the good of the church eternal. What a great testimony of His grace that a man who denied Christ would write of the goodness of God to restore, confirm, strengthen and establish His people. May we too be drawn into the fellowship of suffering with hearts that turn to God in our time of need.