Read 1 Peter, chapter 4 today.
Because Jesus suffered for our benefit, we now are urged to endure hard times and turn from sin as we follow His example. Peter wants us to know that our lives matter, and how we live them after we have become Christians is important. We are not to live anymore for our selfish human desires, but to do God’s will. We waste so much time doing things that are wrong, and are constantly being drawn into sinful behavior because we are more concerned about what others might say about us than about pleasing God. The world does not understand it when we choose God’s way instead of their way. We are all going to have to account for our actions before God someday, and the choices we make will determine how that goes.
A strong warning statement is given in verse 7 – The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Then Peter tells us to love one another deeply, offer hospitality and use the gifts God has given to us to serve. This is what will bring glory to God. We need to unclutter our minds so we can come before God in prayer without distraction. We need to be in fellowship and show love and hospitality to the body of Christ. We need to discover our spiritual gifts, and use them to serve others both in and out of our churches. Those of us who are speakers and teachers – know that when we speak, we have God’s very words to use, because this is His gift to us! We have a limited time here on this earth, and we need to make good use of that time. What do we want to be remembered for and what legacy do we want to leave? The answer to this question will help us formulate our actions as we move forward each day.
We are often surprised when trials and hard circumstances come to us. We are puzzled as to why bad things happen to good people. But God is not surprised by anything. He knows all about our hard times, and is there with us to help us cope and endure. Instead of asking why me, God?, we can ask, why not me? Jesus suffered greatly for us, so that we might receive the gift of salvation and forgiveness. When we suffer because of what we believe, we can rejoice and point people to God’s sovereignty and grace. Praising God in the midst of suffering brings Him glory, and shows others that our hope is not in the things of this world – money, power, success, and prestige. Our hope is in the life we have to look forward to as God’s children, with an inheritance that is eternal.
Because we know what our future holds, we can press on in doing good and continue to be faithfully committed to God. If it is His will that we should face trials, He will also give us the strength to get through them. May we shine as beacons for His gospel truth, so that those who are lost may be found. Keep on keeping on, so that our lives are a testimony of God’s love to us. We can have joy, even if things are not happy or going well. We know it will be over, and that someday all tears will be dried, all pain taken away and death and sickness will be banished forever! To God be the glory! Amen!