I Peter 2
√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house…9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
God has designed our bodies from the inside out. It’s a good design. We have an internal structure that our entire body is built around. We are born the first time with everything in miniature, a tiny skeleton along with tiny muscles and organs that all need to grow in relationship with one another.
The second time we’re born it’s another version of miniature but still a new life. We’re still “newborn babies” and still based on God’s original design..but this time we’re aware of life in relationship to God and equipped with faith to “grow up in your salvation.” There’s a new structure that requires different muscles and organs; “your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” that must grow in relationship with one another into the spiritual house God has designed you to be.
This is God’s truth: ”you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Go big!
NLT 1 Peter 1:1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people… who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 2…May God give you more and more grace and peace…3… Now we live with great expectation, 4 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…8 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. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls… 10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you…12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.
I’ve learned these first chapters of Bible are like pieces of a patchwork quilt for “God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners.” Chapters that are separate and often unique somehow fit together to become an image of Christ so “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.”
Each of these chapters are pieces of a quilt meant to become a beautiful and useful part of your “priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” The author’s “messages were not for themselves, but for you” spoken by “those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven”
These first chapters are their God-given record of their relationship to God through Jesus. That record is their application; exactly what God intended His book should teach us. Application is where the power of the Bible lies. Our personal application is pieced together from each of these individual chapters God has given us to complete our transformation. “The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
This morning I found myself wondering “what’s next.” I’ve been reading various Scripture passages and resources for days hoping for the Spirit to give me a hint for this post. I wish I’d hoped for something more but maybe learning to praise God for his Son and his Spirit even when I don’t know what’s next is “what God planned all along.” It’s called Growth.
I need to re-read my own words about Spiritual Curiousity from 7/26/17
I Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Stories of what God has taught others are good but they are only meant to be a small cell the Holy Spirit plants in you with the possibility what “they” understood might become something more for you…spiritual curiosity. That’s spiritual conception.
It’s the work of the Holy Spirit that leads you to something more over a period of time. Spiritual curiosity develops the desire to “search and find” spiritual answers. That’s the period of your spiritual gestational development.
Finally curiosity, conceived and developed, gives birth to your own praise to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” knowing with complete certainty that “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” the Holy Spirit has personally taught you spiritual truths you’d never known before.
I Corinthians 2:10-13 The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along.[MSG]
I Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
There it is again…”Be alert and of sober mind.”
1. So you may pray AND
2. Because your enemy the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour and you don’t want to be a target.
While the words of the Lord’s Prayer are familiar it’s much more difficult to plug my personal prayers into it than I would have thought. It’s going to take some practice and thought. Practice makes perfect.
I. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…
A. Your name is a holy and spoken prayer in itself. You have chosen to intervene in the life of your creation…my life.
1. I’m grateful for your persuasion
2. I’m thankful for your instruction
3. I’m aware of your blessing
II. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…
A. I have one foot in each of the two kingdoms you’ve created but I live in this one right now. Give me evidence of your will being done on earth to encourage me to keep heaven in sight.
1. Remember the evidence
III. Give us this day our daily bread…
A. Give me the desire to prepare a healthy spiritual diet that’s well balanced with truth AND wisdom.
1. Remember today’s bread
a. Is it just another serving of manna or a full-course meal?
b. Is it nourishment or just food?
IV. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others…
A. My only understanding of the relationship between deserving and forgiveness is what I know you’ve given me.
1. Don’t let my flawed mind and unforgiving heart create a barrier between us.
2. Teach me to forgive in a way that is not limited by my own understanding.
V. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil:
A. Lead us and deliver us, Lord, from the traps of our own making the devil has lined up for us.
1. What are the traps?
VI. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever…
A. This may not be heaven but it is your kingdom
1. Help me find your glory in it.
B. Your Word has power
1. Strengthen my prayers
C. Unite my today with your forever.
A. May it come to pass every day and all tomorrows Lord.
“I Peter 4:7b Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”
This book of I Peter and my absorption with current events have made it clear I really need to pray for our country and our government. There IS a constructive purpose to being “alert and of sober mind” than goes beyond consuming information…”so you may pray.” Sometimes praying is complicated and information doesn’t always make things clearer when it evokes so much emotion.
Recently our pastor has spoken about how he deals with the complexity of who, what and how to pray by using the familiar words of the Lord’s Prayer as his basic outline to filter the events and emotions of his own life. That’s certainly what I need.
OK, OK, OK…to I Peter, to the Pastor…and to practicing what Jesus preached in Matthew 6 when he said “This, then, is how you should pray…” I’ve got information, now I need basic application.
Thanks to Brad Boydston for these prayer ideas he’s made available so what Jesus taught can become a personal reality.
Thanks also to Rick Hamlin for explaining “we really do need [the Lord’s Prayer] words to help us. [It’s] An outline to hang our different concerns and fears on, a guide so that we cover all the basics.”
I Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
I wish I was writing about something else today. I read this chapter over and over looking for something other than this passage but it was stuck in my mind in light of current events. The airways and print media are filled this week with reports of the very public loss of the ability to keep the “tongue from evil” and “lips from deceitful speech.” It’s impossible to watch, listen and read about them and believe there are “good days” ahead.
These scripture verses are obvious and absolute truths that seem so contrary to those events that all I could think was “They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. ” That’s absolutely true but they don’t care, and I can’t change them. The shocker is with all my highly sensitized awareness of a truth that’s so needed for “them,” I haven’t been willing to do the one thing the Lord’s watching and listening for from me that can help.
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer…”
Current events make our country seem like an x-rated, made-for-TV production but God promises a something very different if we will watch, listen AND pray for his reality.
I Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a foreigner or exile? I doubt I’m the only one who needs to think about that question. We are foreigners and exiles, but from what? I’ve been in social situations where I felt completely out of place. I didn’t like that feeling or my response. In that uncomfortable place I realized how much I wanted to fit in rather than be a foreigner or exile. Fitting in is the “war against your soul.”
That uncomfortable place is where the battle lines become clear. There are two sets of values; one for fitting in and another for spiritual things. There’s only one defense that will save us – the integrity of faith.
In·teg·ri·ty: the state of being whole and undivided.
Whole and undivided faith is the winning strategy that makes it possible to “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Note to Self: You may be a foreigner and exile but people see the integrity of your faith and will remember it’s purpose even if they don’t agree with it…yet.