Of Slow Starters and Surefire Winners

I think most of us find that it is difficult to be patient with process, whether we are talking about learning a new skill, remodeling a home, or getting back in shape. Wanting the good results is the easy part, but it’s that one step forward and two back that really tests your resolve to persevere. The number of abandoned projects and piles of new equipment gathering dust out there attest to that fact. Peter the Disciple was a live-in-the-moment kind of guy, knew what it was like to be wired that way– big on excitement and not so much on follow-through. So it is remarkable to read his letters to the Christ-followers living in the outer reaches of the Roman Empire and see his big-picture viewpoint, hear him urging them to keep their eyes fastened on who they are and where they are headed.

Maybe that was his secret, that at some point he did learn to stop looking at the waves,and start looking at his Savior’s hand outstretched instead. When you take your eyes off the immediate circumstances and the swell of emotions that crash all around, start focusing on the One who is walking with you, your perspective enlarges dramatically. You can say things like, “There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.” (1 Peter 1:6)  The grief of this world is still very present and real, but so is the “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:4-5) As a Christ-follower, the saving grace in life is that you are not trying to get it done in your own strength and self-discipline. Literally. Our life in Christ is wrapped up in His saving grace from beginning to end. And when you grow weary of one more day, and discouraged about your progress, you can rest in that grace that carries you, look forward to the glorious future He purchased, and not give up. Peter was very aware of his own weaknesses– that’s why in his letter he emphasizes how salvation belongs to God and is not dependent on our efforts. It was the Father’s grand plan from the very Beginning, accomplished through the death and resurrection of the Son and the sanctifying work of the Spirit in the hearts of those who believe. It is vitally important to Peter that he lay this out clearly because only on this firm and unchanging foundation can his faith and ours rest secure.

Peter goes so far as to say that persevering in the everyday process is what proves a person’s faith is real. He knew from experience how emotions are not trustworthy guides for a walk of faith. High on the excitement of a miracle or caught up in the passion of a big event, it was easy for him to claim large faith, or propose action. But the same emotion that swells has its counterbalancing downswing, and he also knew the pendulum-swing of failure and rebuke and shame. The emotions will never be enough to make you strong, carry you through; what really matters most is the foundation you are acting on when the fireworks of emotion die down– what you do next.

So Peter can write to these believers (with the authority of one who has learned the hard way) that real faith hangs onto the eternal things that are True, no matter what: “You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9) When you know the Most High has gone to such lengths to claim you as His “…special possession….has called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9), you can rest assured that perseverance in living out your faith will result in the happy ending that God intends for you.

And to all of us, I hear Peter saying: be patient with the process. Learn to see God at work in it. Wrestle with what it means to “live as God’s obedient children” (1 Peter 1:14) and practice living out His holiness in everyday things. Don’t be too quick to look for escapes and quick fixes. Listen more to His Word and His Spirit instead of your emotions. Long for growth, soak up every bit of nourishment you can get, so that you will grow strong and healthy inside. And be patient with what He is working out in you, for “when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (1 Peter 1:7) God did it for Peter, and He can do it for you. .

I heard a wise teacher say once that our transformation, our healing, our growth will take one day longer than we live in these bodies. Hang in there, then, and be patient, because ” In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” (1 Peter 1:3-4) This is worth waiting for.

“So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world….For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.”

1 Peter 1:13, 23

“Most of our healings will be experienced through the relatively slow processes with which God wonderfully and wisely equips our bodies. And most of our deliverances will be experienced through the relatively slow (at times frustratingly so) processes with which God wonderfully and wisely equips our minds and souls — replacing habitual responses of belief in deceptive promises and condemning accusations with habitual responses of faith in the true promises and gracious acceptance of God.”

Jon Bloom

Out of the Darkness and into the Light

Lately I keep circling back around to this one big question: What does it mean to live as children of light, in this dark world? And it seems like the central question all of us Christ-followers should be asking, in simple everyday ways. How does a mother shine Light on the third toddler-tantrum of the day, when she is running on not-enough sleep? How does a hurting heart step into Light, bring God’s truth to bear on those wounds and find healing and forgiveness? How does Light clear out the dark corners of my heart where selfishness and anger tend to settle in? What does a Child of Light look like in an office cubicle?…In a marriage?…In differences of perspective and opinion?

You wouldn’t expect a fisherman-turned-preacher like Peter to have very profound ideas on the subject, but it turns out that he was used to asking that question, ever since he got it profoundly wrong one terrible night. Once you let your fears swing the door wide open to betrayal and anger and lies, and the darkness almost swallows you whole, you realize how powerful those small choices can be– how quickly you can find yourself lost on the wrong path. Maybe there’s a sense in which you can’t really learn to consistently walk in the light until you have looked hard into the face of your own darkness. Peter learned the hard way too, how walking in the light might look more difficult in the moment, but it is actually the most freeing thing you will ever do. So he faced his fear and his failure and found forgiveness over breakfast on the beach with Jesus, and began teaching others what he was learning: that the closer you are to Jesus, the more everything makes sense in His Light.

So Peter can say with the authority of someone who has leaned into the subject that the way to walk as a child of the light is to focus on all that God has done for you– stand on that foundation of salvation and rejoice in it, let it make you strong. And it is more than just looking forward to a happy ending someday. It’s embracing your new identity as His child, and allowing that to rewrite your story in the present. As Peter writes to the believers under siege, “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.” (1 Peter 1:3)

We may be waiting for that rich inheritance to come, but Peter says our hope is alive in Jesus, and we live in Him. We are already living in eternity, in the presence of the Spirit of God, with abundant resources for each day. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3) This is why we can trust Him, why we do what He tells us, how we can keep on walking through the hard things and the grief that overwhelms, because the Almighty King of Heaven walks with us as a Friend and we “…are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…” (1 Peter 1:8) Every experience Peter had as one of Jesus’ disciples was a lesson learned, another mile on his faith-journey. Both the good and the bad were growing him into the person God always intended him to be: someone who could walk in the Light and lead others in knowing God. When you understand the depths of your salvation and what the Savior is doing in your life, it changes the way you handle everything, including the hard times.

What does it mean to walk as children of light? Peter would probably rephrase the question for us: How would you act if you knew you were deeply loved, known, set aside for God’s purposes? Hmm…I’m guessing you would act a lot more like Jesus did.


In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

(1 Peter 1:6-7)


Thank You for the wilderness
Where I learned to thirst for Your presence
If I’d never known that place
How could I have known You are better?
Thank You for the lonely times
When I learned to live in the silence
As the other voices fade
I can hear You calling me, Jesus
And it’s worth it all just to know You more

Great Things, Elevation Worship