Going For The Gold

Hopefully the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be held next month. I admire Olympic athletes, don’t you? Their focus and dedication is awe-inspiring. They train for years in hopes of going for the gold. Their chances of making it are slim but their drive to be the best keeps them dreaming and hoping.

This drive for greatness should be in every believer’s heart, and the Apostle Peter teaches you and I biblical principles that will keep us focused on Christ where we are mindful of how we are living as we walk in the halls of glory.

We are called to run with excellence what God has placed before us.

Today, we continue studying in 1 Peter. Go ahead and read 1 Peter 3:13-4:11. Peter shows us what life is like for the believing athlete, the one who is striving to be their best each day, the one whose focus is on heaven and their reward of eternal life in Christ.

Peter is reminding you and I that life isn’t always smooth sailing. There will be trials and tribulations that will derail your progress as God’s athlete, distractions that will cause you to doubt and stumble in your faith. You will meet with opposition from those who keep their backs turned from God.

So, what is a believer to do? You are walking along doing good, serving the Lord, and you suffer for it. What does Peter say in verses 13-14? God will reward you for suffering in His name. He will take care of you. You are always in a win win situation with God. In the world, there’s a winner and a loser, like at the Olympics, but not with God. Every person who become a child of God is a winner and you will receive the gold medal which is Christ Himself.

What is your number one priority as you train to stay fit as a believer, see verse 15?

You must worship Christ as Lord of your life.15

Why is this the number one priority, according to verses 15-16? Worshiping Christ as your Lord will keep you from turning your back on God and doing what you want instead of what God wants, see verse 17.

In verses 18-22, Peter reveals the beautiful gospel message of Christ. You come to understand why He is the King fit to be worshiped. Why did Christ die for you, see verse 18? He suffered a physical death but what happened next that makes Him the Living God, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords? He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, see Revelations 22:13. He is the Name above all names that man can come to and be saved, see Philippians 2:9-11. There is no one else!

There is some hesitancy in the meaning to verses 19-20. Commentary does not give scriptural reference to what Peter was meaning here. He has us remember Noah from the Old Testament. I think Peter was letting us know that Jesus, was very active in Noah’s time, possibly preaching through Noah, like the Holy Spirit speaks through us today.

What is a sober reality in verse 20? Only 8 people, Noah’s family, was saved. The rest of the world perished in the deep waters. Why did so many perish? God hasn’t changed His mind for you and me today. Disobedience causes death.

Now that you have the resurrected Savior, water is a symbol of baptism. It’s a picture of what Christ does within you after you come broken and surrendered to His cross. He receives you. How does Christ save you, see verse 21? Why is Christ’s baptism the only effective way in saving you? Where is Christ right now, look at verse 22?

Peter continues in teaching you and I how to live for God in chapter 4. You see in verse 1 that Christ suffered on the cross. What do you need to do because of it?

For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.1

I have been in a suffering of sorts for the past several years. As I have obeyed God, and published my story, God Hears My Heart, God has been pruning and maturing me. I have to say that it hurts and it is tiring, but I know that He is working within me to bring good out of my life where He receives all the glory.

Why does God allow His children to go through painful times, whether physically, emotionally or mentally, see verses 2-3? My battle is mental. Know that God has your best interest at hand. He will do what is necessary to separate you from the wiles of this world. As His child, you do not walk in the ways of the world any longer. Nope, you walk in the halls of glory. A person who dances with the world causes himself to be disqualified and unfit for God’s Kingdom.

What is a hard reality when you become a Christian, see verse 4? Don’t let this stop you from running the race that God has called you to. Why, see verse 5?

Why is the Good News powerful when shared, see verse 6? The race that God wants you to train for and run in is for this very reason. God calls forth believers to then go and help others to believe. It begins with unbelievers watching the transformation take place within you first. In turn, they desire to have what you have.

Peter states the obvious in verse 7. What is it? How are you to respond because of it, see verse 7-11? How are you living out these biblical principles?

When you live out godly ways, who receives the glory?

We need Jesus to run the race within us.

You and I are called to run in a race that demands excellence. Jesus gave you His very best, and in turn, you are to accept His authority like the angels in heaven do and follow Jesus all the way home.

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