I Peter 5:6-11 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
This is a lengthy passage as far as my style of devotional thoughts go. However, I could not just rest on one or two verses. I am encouraged by passages such as these where advice is given as well as the reason the advice is given. Notice each piece of advice and the result of following that piece.
First, we must humble ourselves. Notice that it is not just a general humility, but a humble life under God’s hand…his mighty hand. The promised result: We will be lifted up in due time. Where I struggle with this one in my life is; what is his due time? Living in the generation of instant everything, my patience is short. I am amazed how many times I feel impatient about God’s work in my life to find later that it all comes out alright. He is faithful.
Second, cast all anxiety on Him. This is probably the most difficult practice for me. Until I allow the comfort of the Holy Spirit to calm my anxiety, I will look for comfort in other things. I believe that God sends the comfort of the Holy Spirit as well as people to us in order to calm our anxiety. I want to note that there is a difference between fear and anxiety. Fear can help push me through a situation. Anxiety, on the other hand, can be crippling and unproductive. God cares enough for us to send comfort in anxiety.
Third, be self-controlled and alert. God and Jesus warn us that the devil is on the prowl. He is constantly working angles, making suggestions, and using deception. We must be aware of this constantly…especially in good times. Peter goes on to encourage us to resist and stand firm in our faith. It’s interesting that Peter relates our standing firm to the fact that we are not alone in this battle. Brothers and sisters all over the world are fighting similar battles. It is comforting to know and be reminded that I am not alone in my sufferings.
Finally, God is faithful to us through his grace in Jesus. Throughout scripture we read about suffering, trials, and hardships knowing that persevering and standing firm in Christ will make us stronger. No matter the outcome of these sufferings, if we persevere, God will be faithful; either in this life or the one hereafter.
Pay attention to God’s advice and the promises that follow. Through Christ, the Holy Spirit will grant you core level peace that will help you to stand firm through suffering. I will rest on that outcome. How about you?
1. Of the pieces of advice, where are you weakest? How so?
2. Of the pieces of advice, where are you strongest? What gifts help you stay strong in these ways?
3. What in your life causes you the most anxiety?
4. How have you dealt with this anxiety in the past?
5. In what ways has God sent his Spirit to help you deal with this anxiety?
6. Pay attention this week to each of these pieces of advice and how they work in your life.
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