Today, you will study the last part of 1 Peter. For the past few weeks in studying this chapter, Peter has called believers to come out from the darkness. This world is soaked in sin and Christ is the only one who can remove you from its grips. God calls forth those who desire to walk on a new path with His Son. Christ takes you down halls of glory where the Holy Spirit teaches you to be mindful in how you are living. As you learn, grow and mature in faith, God places a desire for greatness within you where you “go for the gold”, as in the Olympics. You live for God’s Kingdom instead of for yourself in this world.
This calling can be likened to walking as a soldier in the military. You could say God enlists you for His army. The war on evil is ongoing. It will be until Jesus returns to sentence Satan for his crimes that he committed in the heavenly realms before the world even existed, as well as, deceiving the first man and woman. Sin entered in and God’s creation has never been the same.
(Note: If you are interested in understanding Satan’s past, in my book, God Hears My Heart, I share about who he is.)
In 2 Timothy 2, Paul is telling Timothy what it means to be a good soldier for Jesus. It is good to be reminded as you continue studying how to live for Christ. In verse 4 you read, “Soldiers don’t get tied up again in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.” Everything you do and say should be pleasing to God.
Go ahead and read 1 Peter 4:12-5:14, and lets see what else Peter wants you to know.
Life is hard. There is no doubt about that. Everyone faces trials and tribulations. The wonderful news is that you are not alone. God is with you. He is one thought away, one choice away, one prayer away from helping you. Peter understands this. He says in verse 12 to don’t be surprised when life gets hard. How does Peter say we should respond, see verse 13, and why?
Be glad in your sufferings for you will see His glory and wonderful joy lies ahead.
A day is coming when the world will see Christ for who He is. For believers, it will be the grandest day ever! “So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian.”14 Why does Peter say this? Are you finding it hard to believe that you should be happy when people come against you simply for believing in Christ?
Because Christ endured much hardships, and He never did anything wrong, you will too. Notice what verse 15 says, make sure your suffering isn’t from your own doing. It is easy to make a wrong choice and then pay the consequences for it. You are also one choice or one thought away from leaving the path where Christ walks. You and I are prone to return to the very things that Christ saved us from. You and I need to be humble and repentant daily.
Do you realize that becoming God’s child is a privilege, see verse 16? You wear Christ’s name as a badge of honor. He is your identity. Your life should be transitioning from civilian life to military life. Your focus is now on the Commander in Chief. You live an obedient life to His commands. You do this by listening to the Holy Spirit and following His ways which are found in the Bible.
Peter gives you a reality check in verses 17-19 that will help you to keep your focus on Christ. Christ’s first coming was as a gentle lamb. His second coming will not be. He’s coming back as a roaring lion. He’s returning to judge those who loved civilian life more than His Father before he judges non-believers. The more I study God’s Word, the more I am realizing that God hates lukewarm believers. A lukewarm Christian loves civilian life while enjoying the blessings of God. Their hearts are centered on themselves rather than God. Look at verse 18, why do you think Peter would say, “If the righteous are barely saved?”
Suffering is inevitable, but you can do it in a godly way. How do you do that, see verse 19? What promise do you have for doing so?
In chapter 5, Peter addresses the elders in the Church who tend to the needs of believers, as well as to young men. He gives them wise counsel in keeping in step with walking with God. You and I can learn a thing or two from them. Every believer is called to care for other believers. Do it willingly, and not grudgingly because you have to.
What should the attitude of your heart be, see verse 2? How should you lead, see verse 3? See how important it is to live godly.
What will you receive from God for living His way, see verse 4? For added encouragement, read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Does knowing this inspire you to go deeper with God so He can mature you and get you ready for heaven or does civilian life still appeal to you more?
God calls forth those who are willing to serve others in humility for you read in verse 5 that God opposes the proud but favors the humble. Proverbs 3:34 says, “The Lord mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble.” God cares for His children who have made Him their Commander in Chief.
Peter says to humble yourself under the mighty power of God. In His timing, what will He do, see verse 6? When you trust and believe, you can give all your worries over to Him. He will take care of you.
Here is more information on Satan and why you need to live so focused on God, look at verses 8-9. Know that Satan will be unrelenting towards you when you choose to follow Jesus. He hates God and hates anyone associated with Him. He will do anything and everything to get you to think unholy, choose the world, and keep you from talking to a god who will disappoint you in the end. Satan lies.
Verse 10 has become a life verse for me. Read through it slowly and ask God to show you what He wants you to know. Do you believe what this verse says?
Peter ends his first letter to those who are chosen with an encouragement, “What you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace to you. Stand firm in this grace.”12 Whatever you are facing, God is with you and He is using it for His glory. You may not understand what He is doing, but as you keep your focus on your Savior, listen and walk in the Spirit, and be obedient to what God wants you to do, you will arrive home one day hearing these words, “Well done, my faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)