At a ladies retreat recently, I was challenged and encouraged by truth from 1 Peter that points us to the living hope believers have through Jesus Christ that is both future and now. In 1 Peter 1:3-9, Peter reminds his readers, who were suffering persecution and facing many trials, of this hope that they could rejoice in – an imperishable inheritance that is being kept in heaven for those who are protected by God’s power through Christ! This alone ought to give them, and all of us who belong to Christ, motivation and encouragement to endure and rejoice! This life is not it! There is something better coming! Yet Peter then turns their attention to the beautiful purpose that trials themselves can have in the life of a believer.
I love the wording in verse 6, where he says “you have had to be distressed by various trials.” This gives the idea that suffering is not only allowed by God in our lives, but that trials are intentionally used by God to prove the genuineness of our faith, so that it may bring praise and glory to Him through Christ! Genuine faith is responding in obedience to the truth of God’s Word and living out what we know to be true, even when we don’t feel like it. True faith is not based on our feelings, but is based on the truth of Who God is and what He has said, whether we feel like it is true or not.
One of the statements that the speaker at this ladies’ retreat said in the context of this passage was that “emotions aren’t good leaders.” God has created us to be emotional beings, and our emotions can be used for good when we allow them to follow our choices and actions. But we often get into trouble when we allow our emotions or feelings to lead us and determine our actions. God uses trials in our lives to remind us that we walk by faith, not by sight, nor by our feelings. Another thing she said that I found to be helpful was that God never commanded us to feel Him, but He has commanded us to trust Him and obey Him no matter how we feel! How very true!
The result of genuine faith, believing Christ and then acting in obedience to Him, is that we will love Him more, believe Him more, and rejoice in Him (verse 8)! He will increase our love and our joy in Him, but this is God’s doing in our hearts and comes as a result of our choice to trust and obey Him even when it is hard. So once again, Peter turns their focus (and ours) away from the difficulty of what they were facing and toward the Person and work of Jesus Christ. We have a living hope in Him, to be revealed fully in the future, and that should motivate us today to live for Him!
Am I living today as though I truly believe that what God has promised for my future is true, or do my actions reveal that I don’t really believe what God has said?
Am I truly willing to take God at His Word and act in obedience to Him, regardless of how I feel?
When tested by trials, will my faith prove to be genuine and bring praise and glory to Jesus Christ?
“Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.” 1 Pet. 5:10