Reading: 1 Peter 5
Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes. God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him. Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack. But you must resist the devil and stay strong in your faith. You know that all over the world the Lord's followers are suffering just as you are. But God shows undeserved kindness to everyone. That's why he appointed Christ Jesus to choose you to share in his eternal glory. You will suffer for a while, but God will make you complete, steady, strong, and firm. God will be in control forever! Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11 CEV)
Reflecting and Thinking
The message of Peter's letter can be summarized in five titles: our faithful holy obedience in responding to God's grace gives us a new identity as the people of God, so that even as we suffer for doing good we are committed to living for God, thus being made strong, firm and steadfast in his grace and glory.
Peter began his letter focusing on God's gracious work. He concludes with the same theme. Here are the reflections and instructions of an elder-pastor. Here are the words of a shepherd who is diligently concerned about the glory of his flock when the Chief Shepherd returns. He reminds that Christian living is not about human effort, but is about human response to God's grace. God's initiative empowers our obedience and changed identity, resulting in changed lives. What previously mattered doesn't matter now. Living according to the Spirit replaces living according to the body. This text makes clear that human response is essential: resist the devil, stay strong. But God is ultimately in control. Suffering is temporary but living for God is eternal.
How would your life change if you could you live according to grace?
Do you depend more on yourself and your effort for spiritual steadiness, strength, and firmness, or on God's gracious activity in your life? How could you live out God's promise more fully (5:10)?
How does an awareness of God's power humble us?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how aware are you each day of God's care and provision?
Heavenly Father, we marvel at the wisdom of your plan, and at how much you are involved in our daily lives so that we can reach the goal of living for you and being done with sin. We are journeying daily toward a goal we have not yet attained, yet you call us and claim us according to a new identity and not according to our moments of weakness. We are grateful for your promise of new life, new hope, and eternal glory, even as our faith is tried and tested and perfected through trials and difficulties. Thank you for your gift of Jesus, for your patience, and for the salvation and cleansing you provide through our faithful, conscientious response and participation in Christ's resurrection through our baptism. We want to follow in Jesus' steps, we want to imitate his example, and we ask your presence and power, through Jesus we pray, Amen.