I am able to relate to the apostle Peter. His zeal for Jesus coupled with his failures at critical times make him an interesting figure in the Bible. Everyone who loves Jesus has experienced the “high” of his passion and the “low” of his failures making him someone who we all can easily empathize with.
In Peter’s first letter recorded in the Bible, he writes about a couple of subjects he was very familiar with: suffering and persecution.
Suffering and persecution can cause either growth or bitterness in a believer. The response of the believer determines the result. Since no believer is exempt from suffering or persecution, it is important for us to learn how to successfully navigate these realities. This is the primary lesson of First Peter.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 3-5
Peter begins his letter by pointing out a reality as powerful as the certainty of pain. The reality he speaks of is important to the navigation of suffering.
First, he reminds you that:
- You are equipped to handle anything you face.
What you are going through now or anything you will face in the future has already been seen by the foreknowledge of God. Nothing catches him off guard. God is not making plans “on the fly” but has a plan for you that was created from the beginning of time. God has seen every move by the enemy in advance and has already prepared His move that brings about “checkmate”. You are the elect of God. That means you are chosen for this moment. You are chosen to overcome IN this moment; you will not be defeated by your sufferings. You have been born again, which means every weakness of your character that would doom you to defeat in your battle has been broken off of you and you are being sanctified by the Spirit of Jesus. The very traits of Jesus that brought Him through His time of trial victoriously are being worked into you at this very moment! You are covered by, washed in, and regenerated by the blood of Jesus! You are not facing what you are going through as “Parkey Cobern, sometimes ok and sometimes not”, you are going through this as a regenerated child of God under the authority of the Spirit with goodness and mercy running right beside you! You have died to what defeats you and are alive to the power of God!
- You are guaranteed to win!
Peter reminds us (you and I) that we have an inheritance reserved in heaven for us that cannot be messed up by Satan; an inheritance that cannot lose its value over time, like some 401K weakened by bad circumstances, nor can it just disappear on us like some of the people and things we value in life. Our victory and the accompanying spoils are kept in heaven for us, guarded by a God who has already kicked the devil out of heaven with no chance of his interference in the future!
To overcome whatever you are facing, it is essential that you remember that your victory is assured!!!!!
- God, not the devil is in control of how hot things get!
To successfully navigate persecution and suffering, you must realize that God, not the devil is in control of how “hot” things get in your life! If you believe Satan is controlling things, then you will get discouraged because you know how full of hate he is. But, if you know that God is in control of your trial, then you realize that love is actually controlling your fate and that it is destined, not for your destruction but to work toward your growth and the promotion of God’s glory!
Verse 5 tell us that we are “kept” by the power of God through faith for salvation to be revealed. This is an important statement. The word “kept” means that we have a military – like guard around us which has been authorized to use whatever force that is necessary to ensure that the will of God is done in our lives! Do you see them? They are present around you and will fulfill their mission!
Verse 5 also states that our faith in God is assuring an outcome for us known as salvation. The word “salvation” means deliverance! The outcome of your situation is deliverance!
Another truth of verse 5 is that this deliverance is destined to be revealed! So, when you put this all together, you know that:
I’m equipped to handle anything I face!
My victory is guaranteed and reserved for me!
God, not the devil is in control of what is happening to me!
I am guarded by angels authorized to use whatever force necessary to fulfill the will of God!
Deliverance is my destiny!
It will be revealed in God’s timing which is perfect for my life and my destiny!
Thank you Peter for sharing the word of God with us! If you are destined to overcome, then change your focus and attitude to match your destiny!!!
“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord!” Psalm 118:17