1 Peter is a letter written to believers who are receiving bad treatment because of the mere fact they believe in Jesus. Peter writes to them saying that as Christians they must rise above injustice. They have to look beyond the present situation to God and His promises.
The big idea of the entire letter is that Jesus gives hope in bad times. Peter wants to remind the readers that pain and suffering are not the end. God will be victorious over His enemies and bring about a redemptive purpose through the times of pain.
The question is, how to stay focused on our purpose when there are so many distractions?
Throughout history, believers in every culture have had to respond to this question. Some believers chose to retreat from culture with a hermit type mentality, hiding in caves. Others created Christian communities away from worldly influence.
However, the Bible has a different approach. God has given each believer a mission to accomplish in the world. It will not always be easy, but we have this passage to help us meet the challenges of life.
Five Steps to Living on Purpose Despite Your Circumstances
- To live with a prepared mind
Verses 12 through 20 in Chapter 1 of this letter are an exhortation. Peter says, “Therefore, with your minds ready for action.”
The Apostle Peter wants us to realize that even though we are living in a wicked and sinful world filled with a myriad of trials and temptations, our focus must rise beyond our circumstances.
It is only after we make the decision to quit living for self that we can ever get beyond our present circumstances. It is not really even an attitude of the mind, but a realization of truth. God will be victorious and so will we.
- To live with a sober and alert attitude toward the culture
We are to be sober, self-controlled, disciplined in mind. Sobriety marks the Christian life. A sober and alert Christian is very much aware of the world around them. For example, we live a sober and alert life when we understand the great usefulness of technology but also get the uses for harm.
- To live with their hope set on Christ despite your circumstances
Hope is a response to God and His Word. We look to God, hear His promise, see His salvation in Christ and fix our hope on Him. The certainty of our hope compels us to holiness, to action.
1 John 3:3 says, “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
Hope and holiness go together.
- To live in an obedient manner that keeps you from conforming the world
1 Peter 1:14 says “As obedient children…”
Peter assumes the obedience of the Christian. This obedience must take on a specific form.
“Do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.”
Holiness starts in the mind. It includes a departure from ignorance and a renewal of the thought life. It leads to conforming to Christ’s holiness rather than the lusts of the world. This obedience displays itself in the fear of the Lord.
People like to discuss the love, grace, mercy, and peace of God, but not to think on God as a judge who evaluates us and so must be feared as our Sovereign God.
Our fear of God goes way beyond the kind of respect you show a powerful leader on earth. Our obedience should have us responding to God in reverence and awe.
Romans 14:12 says, “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
One day believers will be brought before the judgment seat of Christ. God’s people, away from earth, will give an account of how they lived their lives and be rewarded accordingly.
- To live holy like God is holy
1 Peter 1:16, “For it is written, be holy, because I am holy.”
Peter is challenging us to be holy, like God is holy. Christians are to be holy in all our behavior. What does it mean to be holy?
The term in its most basic sense is to be set apart, separated for a special purpose. We, as believers, are set apart for the glory of God, to live obedient lives.
However, to live a holy, set apart life, we must focus our minds on Christ.
1 Peter 1:18-21, “For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
We must remain focused on Christ because the primary battlefield for holiness is the mind. The enemy sets his sights on our mind. If he can get us to focus on something other than the hope we have in Christ, he will have won.
Four Challenges for This Week:
- Pay close attention to what you look upon.
- Think through the ramifications of the temptations.
- Start each day in Scripture.
- Refocus each day.
There is no other basis for hope in bad times than the fact that Christ Himself took it all on Himself and rose victorious, ready to lead us to victory over sin as well.
Pastor Chris Williams
To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org and make sure you subscribe to receive these weekly encouragements in your inbox.