In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7
“Trials and Results”
The book of 1st Peter is written to God’s elect: Believers described as strangers in the world; chosen ones for obedience to Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:1-2). These saints are further described as a people who love God even though they have not seen Him; a people who believe in Him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8); who are receiving the goal of their faith – the salvation of their souls (see 1 Peter 1:9).
As believers, we are part of this heritage: “a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4). We are shielded by God’s power through faith. We have this heritage to lean on as we endure trials. Trials will come because we live in a fallen world. The purpose of trial is to prove our faith as genuine. The testing of our faith builds our faith. We prove that God is sufficient – that God indeed knows what is best for us.
Proving of faith as genuine requires perseverance.
# GOD WILL REWARD THE FAITHFUL. Remember this and be strengthened in your faith – proven genuine worthy of praise, glory and honor. ( see Luke 11:13).
#But your hope is what looks like death – all those things over which you have NO control – actually makes up the fertile ground for God’s resurrecting life. In your deaths and desolations, you may discover God’s beautiful power and rich love to walk you through all things.” Mark Mattes
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. For is it written, “BE HOLY, BECAUSE I AM HOLY.” 1 Peter 1:13-14, 16
The effective Christian life is not a passive existence. We begin this spiritual life by actively embracing the gift of eternal life through Jesus’ death on the cross. WE BECOME CLEAN BEFORE GOD. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Also remember Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.”
Now we have the opportunity to be holy. This was impossible prior to conversion because we live in a fallen world (full of sin). BUT, we cannot be holy passively – it requires testing, trials and constant decisions. WE MUST PREPARE OUR MINDS FOR ACTION. Here are specifics:
1). Be self-controlled
2). Suppress your pride
3). Have faith in God – trust Him with your future
4). Acknowledge God for who he is
5). Set your hope on eternity, not on the here and now
6). Be obedient – DO NOT CONFORM TO THIS WORLD
It is possible to be holy because of our heritage in Jesus. Our motivation is our hope of eternity – the living hope. God has created us and He has given us everything we need for godliness.
# BE INTENTIONAL WITH REGARD TO HOLY BEHAVIOR – NOT PASSIVE. (See 1 Peter 1:21).
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it (beauty) should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4
This passage is written to wives, but the principles apply to men and women. God does not place a priority on our outer appearance. He is primarily concerned about our inner self (THE SOUL). The body will wrinkle and eventually gives out, but our souls endure forever. Therefore, the priority should be placed on the enhancement of the inner self, the holy character that God desires.
The enhancement of your spirit doesn’t just happen with no effort or input on your part. You must know the Lord. By knowing Him, you realize that He wants your unconditional surrender to Him (suppressing your pride, submitting to His leading). Oswald Chambers speaks of a time of “SOAKING” before God. This is time spent getting rooted and grounded in Him (prayer, study, quiet listening to God’s leading).
When you let God have His way, your inner character will be transformed and it will be obvious. Remember 1 Corinthians 6:19: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit…” It is important to be a good steward of your body, staying fit and living in a healthy fashion. But the priority is not on this body or how it looks, but on the spirit or soul within it.
#Therefore, KEEP YOUR SPIRIT IN SHAPE.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him – BECAUSE HE CARES FOR YOU. 1 Peter 5:6,7
“Cast Anxiety on God”
God knows you better than you know yourself. He is your creator. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” He knows your spiritual and emotional condition – your strengths and weaknesses. He knows that the flesh is weak and our bodies are frail. He desires that we humble ourselves before Him, transferring all aspects of our lives under His leadership. He wants us to cast our worries and concerns upon Him. It is not His plan for us to shoulder worries and anxiety ourselves. He will do it for you!
Anxiety is not a positive emotion. Worry creates anxiety. Proverbs 12:25 says, “An anxious heart weighs a man down.” Chronic anxiety will destroy the spirit and eventually even physical health problems will result. We were not created emotionally or physically to handle anxiety. The design is to lay it on the Lord.
Next time anxiety/worry strikes, stop immediately and pray, asking God to handle it for you. He wants to do this – it is His design. HE CARES FOR US! “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6). PEACE WILL RESULT.
#If the Lord be with us, we have no cause to fear. His eye is upon us, His arm over us, His ear open to our prayer- His grace is sufficient, His promise unchangeable. John Newton
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in faith because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8,9
Let’s go back to the beginning of 1 Peter. Remember that this book is written to “believers” who are described as “chosen; strangers in this world” (1 Peter 1:1-2). As Believers, we have been blessed with a living hope: “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4). The world is not our home – HEAVEN IS. We are encouraged to live our lives in light of that fact. Trials will come, spiritual battles will occur.
Victory will not come to the passive. We are called to be self-controlled (our will in tune with the Lord’s) and alert. We must actively resist the devil. He is crafty and no one is immune. DO NOT EVEN THINK THAT YOU ARE ABOVE TEMPTATION. Take heed lest you fall. Resist the devil – flee from sin. Our faith is in Jesus who conquered sin for us. Victory is ours – our future is secured. This is our hope during tough times. We are not alone! See 1 Peter 5:10.
Oswald Chambers says: “All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them. “I chose you…” (John 15:6). Keep these words as a wonderful reminder in your theology. It is not that you have gotten God, but that He has gotten you. God is at work bending, breaking, molding and doing exactly as He chooses. Let Him have His way.”
#Let us learn that in all the hard places God brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring blessed results and greatly glorify His name.
Streams in the Desert