By Randy Keene
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Minor Hill
Focal Passage: I Peter 5:5b-11
In this week’s lesson the writer really brings out the point that our hope in Jesus Christ will culminate with a destination. Peter writes a final word to his readers, the elders, on how to focus on the glory that awaits every believer.
He speaks to the shepherds of the flocks as how to conduct themselves in these days. Be humble, he says, as a matter of fact, clothe yourself in it so that God may give grace to you. Now Peter wants them to understand that the devil is real and he is a real enemy. In verse 8, Peter begins painting a picture for them of just who they are dealing with.
In the early 1980s before my family moved back to Giles County I worked for a group of Catholic nuns in Cleveland, Ohio. They ran a nursing home and I was employed in housekeeping. As a young Christian I struggled with my walk with God.
I was a Baptist by birth then and Ohio was not loaded with Southern Baptist Convention churches so I had no church to call home.
One older nun really took an interest in me and tried to mentor me in my walk. Once, I told her I was struggling with the temptations from the devil. She boldly told me in that deep German voice that I “must resist the devil, spit in his face and walk away from him.” I took that advice and use it still today. We must be sober and stand firm in our faith.
Satan is always looking for opportunities to deceive us or destroy us. It’s what he does — steal, kill and destroy. Knowing God’s Word and walking in the Spirit will help us to discern His agenda.
The more of God’s Word you obey, the stronger you get. The closer you walk with God, the more you’ll be able to identify the counterfeit.
After we suffer for a little while, Peter wants us to understand that God has a purpose. As we suffer and are personally being attacked by the enemy, we are being personally perfected by the Lord.
Lastly we have that blessed assurance that this suffering is not permanent; it is only for a very short time in light of eternity. One of my favorite pastors is Mickey Brackin at Mars Hill Baptist Church in Lawrence County. One day Bro. Mickey gave us an illustration of eternity. He had a long rope on the stage and asked the deacons to help him stretch it out.
That rope was all over that sanctuary, up and down the aisles from the front to the back and side to side. Then Bro. Mickey showed us a small area at his end with bright colored tape on it covering about two, maybe three inches.
He explained it wasn’t accurate but the rope represented our life in Christ and the taped part was just our life right now here on earth. Wow! Friends, eternity awaits us in our hope in Jesus.