Read: 1 Peter 4: 1-11
Key Verse: v11
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
What Does it Mean?
Living as a Christ-follower in a corrupted world isn’t easy, especially if we have friends and family who are hostile to our faith, or who are regularly engaged in sinful behaviour. We have to wrestle with the challenges that this poses on a daily basis, having to make a conscious choice to stand our ground and operate within God’s will for our lives. Peter reminds us that there are always consequences for sinful behaviour (v5). He also notes that there is a freedom in being ‘anxious to do the will of God’ (v2, NLT), because we are no longer slaves to chasing after human desires. Doing the will of God doesn’t remove challenges from our lives, but it does give us access to strength that is not our own, and wisdom that can only come from God. When we operate within the will of God, we can be sure that He will give us the words that we need to say, for His glory, and He will give us strength and courage and energy (v11) to do the things that He desires for us to do. We can, of course, choose not to operate within God’s will; we can choose to forge ahead in our own strength – but when we do, we will struggle. We need to remember how much we need God, and how much we depend on Him to strengthen us in our storms. Pride can sometimes stand in the way and promote an unwillingness to submit to God’s will; when pride rears its ugly head, we need to snuff it out with a humble acknowledgement that we don’t have the strength or wisdom to solve our difficulties, and learn to seek God’s guidance every step of the way.
Whatever we do in life, whether in times of trial or in times of peace, we should be conscious of the need to be operating within the will of God. When we are doing this, God will give us the words we need to say, and the courage and the confidence to do what we need to do. Operating in our own strength – outside of God’s will – will always be a struggle. It’s important to recognise our dependance upon and need for God; only then can He supply us with what we need to face our challenges.
Journaling and Reflection
- Peter notes that non-believers are surprised by our changed behaviour and ‘heap abuse’ on us (v4, NIV). Read verse 5. How does this verse make you feel? Does it help you to stand your ground when tempted to join in with sinful behaviour?
- We are called to operate within the will of God. How can you tell that you’re operating in your own strength rather than in God’s will? What steps can you take to make sure you are using God’s wisdom and strength instead of your own?
- Everything that we do should bring glory to God. How does this statement make you feel? Why?
Lord God, thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for my life, and that when I am operating within Your will You give me all the strength, energy and wisdom that I need. Help me to recognise when I am forging ahead in my own strength and give me a humble heart that I may always be doing Your will, and that all that I do brings glory and praise to You. Amen.