June 25. I Peter 5
GRACE LESSONS: One of the most fascinating references to grace comes in the last part of Peter’s first letter to the suffering Christians in Asia Minor. Let’s look at verse 12: “I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.” We don’t always get a clearly stated purpose for a letter, do we? But here it is. Peter states that his purpose is to tell these persecuted believers that all the hardship is truly part of God’s plan for them. In fact, it’s part of God’s grace for them. What? How can persecuting and suffering be “grace—undeserved pardon or favor? Well, Peter believes that we are being favored when we are noticed as Christ-followers. We are privileged to share in His sufferings and point to Him in such a concrete way. Peter and the disciples and their confident deaths were what led my historian husband, Ray, to faith in Christ. They had known Jesus up close and personally. And they willingly submitted to horrible deaths rather than deny the One they knew to truly be the Son of God. They convinced my honey to trust Christ centuries later. God’s grace, friends. It’s all grace. (And I’m so thankful that their spilled blood is still leading others to the Way the Truth and the Life!)
OUR PASSAGE: As Peter addresses leaders in the church in this closing section of his letter, one word stands out. Humility. A Christian leader is a servant. An under-shepherd of The Great Shepherd. I love the many ways Peter, who is no longer proud, shows us that the way to greatness is through knowing our own littleness. Whenever we start to feel puffed up, let’s go read I Peter 5! It’s interesting, too, that he warns of the enemy prowling around looking for someone to devour. Could it be that when we allow pride into our lives we open a door to the enemy to mess with us? Yes. It definitely could be. Let’s not go there, k?
My verse: I Peter 5:9 “Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.”
My response: Help me to see when the devil is attacking me, Lord, and to turn my back on him, pressing on with You! Thank You for the reminder that literally all over the world today my fellow brothers and sisters in the faith face threats, enemy attacks and persecutions—most of them so much more severe than mine. Help me to be faithful to pray for them.