Saturday, August 17, 2013

1st Peter 5 - Humble, sober, and patient

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time" (1 Peter 5:6)
Why "therefore"? Because, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5) Humility is the path to receiving grace from God. Thayer's translates the Greek word used for "opposed" as "to range in battle against." God has set Himself in battle array against the proud to humble them and to bring them into submission and, when God sets Himself for battle, He always wins. However, those who come to Him in humility, He abundantly pours forth His grace upon them. Solomon reminds us that, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." (Proverbs 16:18-19 NKJV) Do you want to be great in the Kingdom of God? Do you want to be exalted? Learn to be humble and lowly. Cease trying to exalt yourself, or to climb the "ecclesiastical ladder" in order to become something great. Be humble and let God, if He so chooses, to exalt you to the place He has appointed for you. Stop striving and rest in humility.
"casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
Cares have the ability to sap the spiritual life right out of our souls. Jesus warns of those who are overcome by cares when He said, "The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity." (Luke 8:14) Unfortunately, none of us are ever free from cares. Cares are part of our life inherited from Adam. When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God cursed the ground and their life was given over to cares. "Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:17-19) We all have cares, the question is how are we going to deal with them. Peter tells us to cast them upon Jesus. This casting is both active and intentional. Our cares will not automatically be cast on the Lord, we must cast them; through prayer, worship, and fellowship with Christ we must cast them. When cares encroach our lives, we must stop long enough to turn to Jesus and give Him our cares, and this is our hope and promise, that He cares for us. We have confidence that, in casting our cares on Him, He can bear them and will complete and perfect that for which we care. "The Lord will accomplish what concerns me." (Psalms 138:8)
"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world." (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Some have painted this life as a grand struggle between good and evil. However, we know that Good has already won and evil has already lost. There is no great battle going on between them as to which one will overcome, Good has already overcome. However, there is a battle raging on and it is a battle for the souls of men. Jesus desiring men's souls that they may be redeemed and reconciled to God, and the devil desiring to destroy men's souls and to claim them for his own that they may share his fate away from the presence of God forever. While the devil is not all powerful, he does desire to wage war against our soul and it is incumbent on us to remain sober and watchful that we might see his attack before it reaches is and to extinguish it through faith and prayer. "in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." (Ephesians 6:16) Far better to see trouble coming and avoid it rather than having to fight hand-to-hand once it has come upon us. We should watch and pray and live our lives in such a way "that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes." (2 Corinthians 2:11) Sometimes, when the battle does come upon us, it is tempting to think that we are alone and that no one else would ever understand what we are going through; we get the "but as for me"s. "But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped." (Psalms 73:2) We must remember that we are not going though anything unique and that our brethren around us and through out the world are enduring the same struggles as we are. In times like these, we must not be afraid to reach out to others for strength and help, knowing that they will understand for they too go through struggles just like us.
"After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 5:10-11)
We endure but not without purpose. We struggle, but not without hope. God has promised us no to try us beyond our ability to stand. "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13) Our's is the victory and our's is the overcoming. We are destined to victory if we stand steadfast in faith, patience, and endurance. God has promised, "No weapon that is formed against you will prosper." (Isaiah 54:17) We just need to stand firm.

David Robison

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