Perspective is essential. Your perspective shapes your responses. Wrong perspective, wrong response.
In 1 Peter 1, Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, is writing to Jewish and Gentile believers who had to escape Jerusalem because of religious persecution.
Peter calls these believers who have been dispersed, “elect exiles.” The term “elect” was a common adjective used to describe those who have chosen to follow Jesus.
The idea of “election” has been widely misunderstood to suggest that God has chosen some and rejects others. The Bible makes it clear that God has chosen everyone, but not everyone chooses Him. The elect are those who choose Jesus.
Peter’s pairing of the word elect with exiles was an intentional act to shape their perspective as they find themselves dispersed from the only home they have known.
In the Old Testament, when Israel found themselves in exile, it was often the result of rejecting God. It was not uncommon for God to use Israel’s enemies as “a rod of righteousness.”
When God established a covenant with Israel, part of the agreement was they were to live differently. As “elect exiles,” God has not abandoned them, He is with them.
Peter’s first instruction is for them to bless God, that is to worship Him, because of His great mercy. Worship reaffirms your right standing with God as you’re invited into His presence.
Mercy is NOT getting what we deserve. We all deserve judgment; none of us have earned mercy. God’s great mercy sets aside judgment and offers us the opportunity to have our sin forgiven.
Having a relationship with God provides us with a living hope. Godly hope is not good thoughts or wishful thinking. Hope is a powerful thing that can motivate you to push on, even when you feel like giving up.
Our hope is alive. It has a pulse, a heartbeat. Our hope is founded on the person of Jesus Christ, who has conquered death and the grave. Godly hope cannot be extinguished.
Peter informs us that our hope affords us an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. These adjectives used to describe our inheritance unveils its immense value!
- Imperishable comes from the Greek word, aphthartos, which means exempt from wear, waste, or perishing.
- Undefiled comes from the Greek word amiantos and means unpolluted, unstained, unsoiled, nothing about it is bad.
- Unfading is armantos in the Greek and means its quality never diminishes, never gets old.
There is nothing in this life that can deliver a promise like that. Everything in this life wears out, gets stained, and diminishes in quality.
And to top it off, Peter explains that this inheritance is guarded by God’s power. The word “guarded” is a military term that refers to an armed battalion in a city to protect it from foes.
God is guarding your inheritance; it will be there for you when you transition from this life to eternal life!
This is another reason our hope is so amazing. As death in this life is shrouded in sadness and grief, for the person who placed their faith in Jesus, death is redeemed as we receive our inheritance the moment we enter heaven.
In verses six and seven of 1 Peter, we gain a different viewpoint of trials. Without this perspective, we may place our attention on matters that will silence and nullify what God wants to achieve in your life.
God never wastes a season in life. What this life may serve up as trouble, God uses to test and refine our faith. The word test in this passage is defined as to prove something.
Right now, we are being tested. Our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control are all being tested. God is refining and burning away the impurities that may tarnish faith.
Whenever we place emotions, politics, or preferences above the work of the Holy Spirit, we show that we are focused on the wrong things.
If we allow God to work on us during this time, we will come out of this season stronger and free from the issues that may trip us up.
But if we allow ourselves to be distracted with the wrong perspective, we will miss an opportunity for growth and identifying areas that need to be surrendered.
We risk exiting this season no different than when we entered it, carrying the same burdens and weaknesses we had when we started, such as the same;
- critical demeanor.
- judgmental spirit.
Focus on how God is refining your faith and not on the discomfort. Your inheritance is worth enduring. It’s worth the pain and suffering felt for a little while.
What area of faith is God working on in your life?
Using Galatians 5 as a checklist, are you developing the fruit of the Spirit or the acts of the flesh. What fruit of the Spirit needs to be developed that may be lacking right now?
Don’t focus on all of them, that’s too overwhelming and unrealistic. Focus on the one that is most pressing. This time will pass, but don’t miss out on being refined as God redeems this season of life.
Remember, we have a living hope that’s saturated in God’s great mercy and an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. Allow God to have His way in your life.
Keep your attention on Him and what He wants to sharpen in your life and not on the issues around you. Ask Him today, what areas of my life are you trying to work on.