The focus of 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times by Sue Edwards has fit well with its title. Each lesson reminds us that troubling times are very different when viewed from God’s perspective. This week’s lesson focuses on the greatest of all encouragements: the end. Christ has the ultimate victory! And those of us who are His share that victory with Him!
One major thing stood out to me in this week’s lesson. We focus wrongly. This is not news. I’ve known it for a long time. But I require a continual reminder to keep my focus sharp and right. Even with such reminders, my focus is so frequently very, very poor. We focus on here and now. On today. On life as we know it. We focus on ourselves. Our own pain, our own joys, our own life. In the process we miss so much.
This week’s passage (1 Peter 4:17-19) reminds us to focus on Christ. And, when we focus on Christ, there will be more in our minds than ourselves. The lesson brings out two primary aspects of this focal shift.
When we are properly focused, we will have our eyes on eternity. Peter begins today’s focal passage with the statement that the “end of all things is near.” He later moves on to discuss the final judgment that is to come, both for us as God’s children and for the “godless man and the sinner.” (vs 18) How often do we contemplate that final joy (vv 13-14) as we face our current trials? How often do we contemplate that final judgment as we interact with our world on an every day basis? Which leads to the second aspect.
When we are properly focused, we will consider others.
First of all, we will focus on one another as fellow believers. We will love one another (vs 8), be hospitable toward one another (vs 9), and use our spiritual gifts in service to one another (vv 10-11). So often I am selfish in all of the above areas, focusing on me and my own needs. Oh how much more delightful this journey would be, even with its suffering, if I were to consider others more than myself. If my love, hospitality, and gifts were all focused on meeting the needs of my fellow believers as they fight through this life. I guarantee all of our needs would be met were we to all focus on prayerfully meeting the needs of one another.
But, there is more. We also must focus on those who are not believers. Peter reminds us in verses 17-18 that the judgment which is to come is glorious for those of us covered by the blood of Christ, but eternally condemnatory for those who are not. If we have our eyes on eternity, we will also have our eyes turned toward the lost and the need to pour our hearts and lives into ensuring that the gospel is brought to them.
As I said, it is all such a simple reminder of something we know so very well. But, sometimes the simplest reminders are the ones we need the most.
This study was sent to me by Kregel Publications in exchange for my participation in this graduated blog tour. I am not required to respond positively to the study.