Friday, November 30, 2018

Devotional: How to Live Together in This World, 1 Peter 5:1-14

Outline 1 Peter 5.1-14

Peter closes his letter with some practical application about how believers should live together in a way that will reflect God’s grace in this world of suffering and trials. In this chapter he gives two basic commands about church relationships. Church leaders are to shepherd the church. That is, they are to sacrificially serve and protect the church by being living examples of a gracious lifestyle and submission to the needs of their people. The command to all the church is that all their relationships be characterized by a humility that entrusts all of life to God’s care, controls oneself to avoid self-indulgence and stays faithful despite suffering. The promised outcome of this lifestyle is eternal, unfading glory. All of us are called to faithfully live out God’s grace in the power he provides.

Peter calls leaders to serve their people as “under-shepherds” of Jesus. (5:1-4) Their people are to be regarded as belonging to Jesus and placed under the leaders’ care by Jesus. The task of the leader is to train and serve the people as Jesus did. Thus, pastoring (shepherding) can only be done in close relationship with people. Just as Jesus modeled the behavior he was teaching, a pastor/leader must be closely connected with the people so he can know and meet their needs. The pastor should be willing to share the sufferings and trials of the those being ministered to. Church leadership must be a calling to serve, model, teach and lead, not just a profession. A church leader must be Jesus to the church even if that means that one must give their life for the people.

The attitude driving all relationships must be humility. (5:4-11) Humility should permeate every aspect of our behavior. In our relationship with God it means that we give up control completely and trust his care for us. Instead of worrying about what we cannot control we pray in a way that hands over all these problems to our faithful Creator. Instead of giving Satan an opening by indulging our selfishness, we watch ourselves and remind ourselves of the truth of who we are and what is really important. Instead of self-pity in trials, we join in service and prayer with our fellow-believers who are also suffering. We keep the proper perspective that trials are short-term and God promises that whatever was lost will be restored, that what seems in doubt now will be confirmed, what is weak now will be strengthened, and that all these troubles will end with us being established in eternal glory.

It is only with this perspective (5:12-14) that we can live out God’s grace in the power he provides and experience the peace that comes from being in Christ.

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