The end of all things is near, Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.   (1 Peter 4: 7-10)

Peter and Paul must have shared many hours together and many thoughts about their understanding of what the Christian journey was all about. Peter echoed Paul’s instructions about prayer which we have already studied in Col. 4. In fact, what he wrote is almost word-for-word Paul’s words.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Col. 4: 2)

Prayer is a pivotal part of our lives as followers of Jesus. Prayer is the unique activity of a son. Jesus’s role on earth was to take us to the Father so that we can interact with Him as His sons and daughters. For what purpose? To get to know the Father, to listen to Him and to submit to His authority and His will. Our task is to reproduce Jesus on earth so that His will and purposes will overtake and replace the rebellious designs of mankind. We are here for Him, not Him for us. To listen to Him is our greatest privilege and responsibility and that happens, among other things, through prayer.

And for the rest, our lives are to be lived for others. Jesus came to earth both as a son and a servant. By serving people He served the Father. Strange as it may seem, a child’s primary responsibility is to learn submission and obedience and in so doing to serve his father. How else will the family unit be established? Unless God’s authority structures are followed, the unity He envisages in the family cannot happen.

The pattern for unity is the Godhead; each one serving the other for the mutual benefit of all. When unity is disturbed, the entire universe descends into chaos and disintegration. The way to establish and maintain unity is through mutual submission and loving service.

That brings me to another thought. Power in the kingdoms of men and in the kingdom of God are in direct opposition. In the world, power is exerted by one person over another. Power is about controlling other people for one’s own ends. If people do not reciprocate, the next step is force. Make them do what I want by whatever means works – intimidation, manipulation, domination. That is Satan’s way.

Power God’s way is through self-control. Part of the miracle of the new birth is the infusion of God’s nature into the believer. He has given us His nature – mirrored in Jesus so that real power begins to operate when we respond as Jesus did to sin. Jesus showed us how it is done. Submission to the Father motivated Him to take everything that was thrown at Him without retaliating. By not participating in the sin of those who crucified Him (and that includes you and me), Jesus put an end to it right there, in His body, when they nailed Him to the cross.

Our way is to react, retaliate, take revenge or allow our anger and hatred to fester inside. Sooner or later, we will take it out on someone close to us, and so the sin of others is perpetuated in us and through us. The good news is that God is the just judge. We can leave it to Him to fight for us. How much better to let it go when we have been wronged, knowing full well that we can, like Jesus, entrust ourselves to Him who judges justly (1 Peter. 2: 23)

So, Peter said, instead of spending your time fighting your own cause, let God do it for you. It is better to spend your time serving others because, in this way you’ll be spreading goodwill around you instead of fomenting hatred and bitterness. This is the way of the kingdom. By serving others, we confirm our relationship to God as His children. We resemble Jesus, our elder brother, by acting the way He did and we, in the end, earn the right to have authority in God’s kingdom.

By investing our time and abilities in the wellbeing of others, at our own expense, we will grow in the likeness of God, whose nature is in us, and we will put to death the old selfish nature that leads to death.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Categories: Bible Study Tags: , ,

Luella Campbell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>