As we trace Peter’s thoughts through paragraph after paragraph, themes emerge– the main points he wants these early believers to latch onto and remember. One particular bright thread weaves through the black and white words, connecting each section in unexpected patterns of color: The way to walk as children of light, mindful of their glorious inheritance is to live without fear. Pretty idealistic considering that at this point in history they are a handful of Christ-followers in a suspicious world, an odd ragtag minority, carrying around strange ideas about some carpenter-turned-king the Empire had already disposed of and left for dead. But Peter says don’t be afraid to live as strangers swimming against the current of culture.
He says go ahead and live well in the face of men who slander and accuse you, as a walking talking testimony to the transforming power of the gospel, because you know that God will sort it all out when He comes. Submit to human authorities and governments, even though they be unjust and fail in their responsibilities, because you can trust the God who has authority over all men. Serve those who employ you willingly and with respect, whether or not they deserve it, because you have been called to follow in the humility and patience of Christ. Live out your faith in the home as a peaceful and beautiful example of God’s redemptive power, even though those closest to you have the most power to hurt and betray you. Peter says you can do all these things without fear, because you can trust the God who “caused [you] to be born again to a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3) to guard your heart.
Someone reminded me this week that the root of all our striving and stress is fear for the future: fear that we will lose good things…that pain will come…that we will not be enough, have enough, know enough to succeed and get what we desire. Our first impulse is always to protect ourselves, from the dangers that threaten and uncertainties we cannot control. And Peter says just lay it all down, because you do not have to be that person anymore. “Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-15)
We cannot live as children of light as long as we are holding onto fear…and the only remedy for fear is trust. Peter lays the precious foundation of Christ, given for us before the beginning of the world, says if we plant our feet firmly in His love we can handle any troubles this world can throw at us with joy, “and anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” (1 Peter 2:6) Fellow-disciple John echoes the thought and declares confidently that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) These men have watched Jesus lay down His innocence as a sacrifice for us over the course of three terrifying days– they witnessed the greatest act of perfect love this world will ever experience, and they have been transformed. John says knowing Christ makes all the difference in the way they live: “We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen Him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that He is the one who is eternal life.” (1 John 1:1-2)
The world is still a scary place. And the Enemy of my soul’s health is an accomplished spear-thrower, knows just where all my wounds and weaknesses are, and fear is a powerful weapon in his hand. But Peter’s counsel echoes in my head: “So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control…” (1 Peter 1:13) Every day I get to choose to respond to circumstances either with fear or with trust. And I can see the logical disconnect of claiming the Most High God as my Father in Heaven and still allowing insecurity and fear to shape my days. Every threatening uncertainty that rises up need only drive me into God’s presence and power, where I can sing with the Musician-King, “He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:2)
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see1 Peter 1:3-5
Whatever you agree with you give power to in your life. If you agree with the truth, the truth will set you free. If you agree with lies, lies will enslave you. In order to change the way you live, you have to change the way you think.Rob Reimer (Soul Care)