Friday, March 15, 2019

The Practical Power of 1st Peter

Over the years I have studied, loved, shared and counseled through the Book of 1 Peter countless times. When studying a book or segment of Scripture, I like to summarize the main theme, preferably in a sentence. Here’s how I’ve summarized 1 Peter: “God’s grace empowers perseverance through faith & hope.”

Consider this, if God writes a book to help us persevere in suffering, then it behooves us to pay close attention to the recurring themes. I suggest that if you are going to suffer well, for the glory of God, it might be wise to begin by paying attention to how God weaves instruction around the themes of God’s grace and your faith and your hope.

God’s Identity and Purpose
I would suggest to you that in order for you to “persevere in faith and hope”, you must continually reflect on who God is and what He is doing in the overall narrative of human history and in His personal dealings with you.
Notice that throughout 1 Peter, God continually defines or describes His own “identity” as well as the Believer’s identity. Furthermore, there is a recurring theme of purpose, God’s purposes and the Believer’s purposes in life.

Your Identity and Purpose
It is also imperative that you continually remind yourself of how God describes and defines who you are and what His purposes are for your life.

In other words, it is paramount that you and I are continually developing a “High view of God” and a biblical understanding of His overall purposes in the grand story of human history. 

Practical Application

Here’s how one counselee applied the Identity/Purpose themes of 1 Peter in a homework assignment: 
“I develop / grow in having a high view of God (God exalting) and a right view of myself (self-abasing – humility-meekness). The quality of meekness means allowing God to do whatever He wants with me even though it’s painful. (Christ showed meekness by entrusting Himself to a faithful God)”
Q. How can I intentionally fight against where I’ve come from & my conclusions & propensity to respond?  A:  With an exalted view of God
Q.  How does God’s sovereignty affect me in the moment?  How does God’s sovereignty foster meekness?   These are the types of questions I need to be asking myself to help in the renewing of my mind/thinking.

Rather than continuing to regret my sin, place my sin where God has [placed it] once I have confessed/repented.  Colossians 2:13-14 represents a high view of God.  He has nailed our sin to the cross.  So, I don’t (shouldn’t even) keep holding myself accountable for my sins against others once I have repented.
Instead, remember that there is redemption in a right response to sin (Psalm 32, Psalm 51).
Instead of saying “I can’t believe I did that…”  I should be saying “I can’t believe I didn’t do worse…”

The counselee’s final thoughts demonstrate a profound application of the Gospel regarding how to suffer well:

“With a high view of God, there will NEVER be bitterness.”

“A goal is for me to grow in understanding of how a sovereign, good God can/could have me in such a hard place at times.  I do this by understanding, ‘Who is God?’, ‘What is His purpose?’, ‘Who am I?’, ‘What is my purpose?’” 

Kent Kloter     

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