I Peter 5:8:11 (NKJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
In Peter’s first epistle, he’s addressing the christians throughout Asia Minor. It is generally accepted that he was writing this at the beginning of Nero’s persecutions of christians. His primary goal is one of comfort, hope and encouragement. He’s asking that they hold fast in the faith, despite the imminent persecution. At this point, we see a mature Peter who has incorporated the persecution, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ Jesus into his own personal understanding of suffering. In doing so, he expects and perhaps looks forward to the opportunity to suffer for the glory of Christ and His Kingdom. He knows, fully assured of Christ’s promise, that eternal glory awaits once the suffering is concluded.
There are many brothers and sisters around the world, this very moment, suffering physical, mental and emotional torment because of their unrelenting devotion to Jesus’ gospel promise. They are suffering, just as Peter knew he and those he addressed would. Yet, they count it joy, because they are assured of the glory that awaits.
This is overwhelmingly convicting to me. Here in America, we don’t suffer like that, at least not yet. There are some egregious instances, where persons’ religious liberties have been trampled and had serious impact on their lives. I do not intend to minimize their struggle, just contrast them with the life and death struggles of others abroad. Their expression of faith, if discovered, can and is resulting in torture and death. Yet, they choose to stand resolute and firmly adhere to the very thing that Peter is imparting.
Here in America, I see and am guilty of a half hearted expression of faith. I, and see others, pick our moments, moments that conveniently fit into our day, to express our faith and love for Jesus. We have an opportunity to do so at will, yet we don’t. We can pray when and where we choose, yet how often do we? We can freely read and share God’s word, yet we hold back. The American church, far too often, shrugs its shoulders when it should be flexing its muscle. How can we, who enjoy such incredible freedom, be bored and apathetic, when the times we live in demand action? Christ guarantees us that the end times will see an insipid attitude toward life. The persecution is coming, My Friends. If we’re not fully living out an expression of faith now, when we are free to do so, how will we possibly stand during the type of persecution Peter refers to and Jesus assures us of?
There are so many battles to be fought, big, small, day in and day out. There are loads we must all embrace and desire to lift. There is a world of billions in need of shepherding, slaves to be freed. Are you resolute? Does what others see and hear from you suggest to them that you are? The answer must be yes, and… if it’s not, what are you waiting for? Have a blessed weekend!
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,