Today's Reading - 1 Peter 1:1-2:10
Peter wrote to Christians scattered throughout Asia Minor who were suffering everything from simple social ostracism to overt persecution. He advised them to live out their new birth by walking in holiness and by enduring through sufferings.
Today's reading opens the book and sets those themes.
Devotional - Heavenly-Minded
"You are so heavenly-minded you are of no earthly good."
That was a favorite insult of a group in my college days, those who had abandoned the gospel of Jesus Christ for what is often called the "social gospel." They believed that we were put here to make the world a better place, to be the best we can be, and felt that getting bogged down in thinking about heaven and hell, deep things of theology or our future hope would be a distraction from our responsibilities in the here and now.
Peter made it clear in 1 Peter 1:3-5 just how misguided that kind of thinking actually is. In fact, the opposite is true. Oh, certainly we are here to help people and to serve others in the name of Christ. Social justice is a noble thing if done out of a heart for Jesus and as an outgrowth of the work of the gospel. But our hope is never in this world nor do we live for it. Look at what Jesus' disciple said.
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
"...though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials..."Trials are normal, natural - a part of every Christian's life. It's the life we can expect to lead. be Sometimes it will be small challenges and sometimes it will be huge sufferings, but either way we can expect our lives in this world of sin to be filled with challenges, heartaches, setbacks, opposition, and suffering. Like Jesus. Like Paul. Like Peter. Like just about every one of the key followers of Christ in the New Testament.
The idea that walking with Jesus and living for him brings health, wealth, ease, comfort, and constant "wonderfulness" in life is not gleaned from Scripture.
And that is why Peter tells his readers to do two things - consistently and repeatedly. First, he tells them to continue. As a marathon runner (former) I can tell you that the key to completing a marathon is this - when you feel like quitting, DON'T! Go another step and another. Run the race to the finish.
Peter has one more instruction. Walk in holiness. In times of suffering or in times of ease, this doesn't change. We have been saved for godly and holy lives. "Be holy, because I am holy." Jesus is our foundation, our cornerstone, and we must walk as he did - in purity, holiness, and daily obedience.
And contrary to what I was told back in college, it is when we are heavenly-minded that we can become of earthly good!
Father, I do not know what today will hold. I pray for a good day, but whatever challenges come, may your grace go before me. Help me to continue on without giving up - running the race you set before me to the finish. And may I walk in holiness and purity every day.
Think and Pray
Do you expect everything to go well because you live for Jesus?
Are you depending on Christ and persevering through hard times, or do you tend to give up and quit when things get hard or there is opposition?
Are you consistently growing in holiness?