Selfless

“Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” –1 Peter 4:11

In this final passage, Peter tells us how to use our gifts that God has so graciously given us.  Peter writes that whoever speaks should do so using his words, and whoever serves should do so using the strength that he has given us. By doing this, our selflessness points others to our glorious God. These gifts are not our own and we are called to use his gifts to glorify him.

“Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long,” (Psalms 35:28). We are to use our tongues and our actions to praise God. Peter tells us that we do this in order to bring glory to God in all that we do. Our God is an awesome God, and we should strive to serve for him and spread love in his name in order to bring others to Christ and show others how amazing he truly is.

Since this is the last devotional, I’m going to give you a life-long call to action. Go and serve in the name of Christ. Shout his name from the mountains and the depths of the sea so that all can know and love him. Remember who Peter says we are. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy,” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Sidney

Gifts to Give Away

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” –1 Peter 4:10

When God created each and every one of us, he gave us a gift. God gives us these gifts so that we may use them to serve others and glorify his name with them. Some of God’s gifts are encouragement, prophecy, helps, shepherding, and teaching. I believe I have the gift of help, which means that I have a servant’s heart. Sometimes it’s really hard to use the gifts that God gave me for his glory rather than my own.

Peter tells us that we are to use these gifts to serve one another. The greatest example of serving others comes from Jesus. Jesus came to this earth, not as a mean, hard-headed king, but as a servant. He served others to show us how to serve. We are called by God to use our gifts to serve other people in order to show them Christ. It can be hard to serve those that don’t also serve you, but Jesus didn’t die for all of mankind expecting us to repay him someday. We are called to be like Jesus and serve others graciously.

Peter says that we are to serve others using our gifts as good stewards of God’s grace. This means that we need to serve others with the same grace that God gave us. We are called to be like Christ in our serving and to show his grace and kindness towards others. So, we are to use the gifts that God has so graciously given to us to help others and show who God is through our actions.

The gifts that God gave us when he created us are not for our own keeping. We must give these gifts away and show those around us the mercy and grace that Jesus has given us. Today I urge you to use the gifts that God has given you on someone other than yourself. Go and serve.

Sidney

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

“Above all, keep loving each other earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” –1 Peter 4: 8-9

Being in relationship with people means sometimes we are hurt by them. I’m sure I’ve hurt people with words I’ve said or things I’ve done, and people have hurt me with their words and actions as well. In the Bible, Peter tells us to “love each other earnestly.” But how do we do that? Instead of giving the cold shoulder we’re called to love them instead. Jesus is our perfect example because he didn’t retaliate or ignore us. Jesus died for us on the cross because he loved us and forgave us of our sins so we could be with him for eternity. His love covers a multitude of sins, knowing everything about us, and everything we would ever do, and yet he still died to forgive us. He commands us to love each other because he has loved us. As believers we show Jesus’s love to others even when they are difficult to love and we forgive them no matter what they do to us. The more we love and forgive, the more we look like the image of Christ.

Peter also says that one way we can express this love is by being hospitable, and not complaining about it. That means being kind and compassionate towards others like Jesus is towards us. Servitude is a way to be hospitable, and Christ commands us to be his hands and feet. He wants us to love those we are serving, but sometimes it can be difficult to want to serve them because we don’t have the time or energy, or maybe because they keep asking you for favors and you never get anything in return. That’s when we remember Jesus’s love for us and show them love anyways. Jesus washed his disciples feet voluntarily and out of love, because that’s who Jesus is- love! Christ is the perfect picture of a servant’s heart and being hospitable without complaining.

This week I challenge you to love like Jesus loves, not because they are worthy or they deserve it, but because Jesus has shown you his love by forgiving you for everything. Pray for opportunities to show love, forgiveness, and hospitality to fellow believers.

Micah

Stay Focused

“The end of all things is at hand, therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers”-1 Peter 4:7

In this verse, Peter tells us that the end of all things is at hand. By this, he means that the story of the bible- the savior coming down and dying for us sinners- has been completed. This also means that Christ’s return to earth could come at any time. The rest of the verse describes how we are called to live. We are called to be a part of the new story. The story of Jesus, of grace, of discipleship, repentance, and salvation. God calls us to be a part of his story, not our own.

To be self-controlled and sober-minded means to be focused. Peter is telling us not to get lost in the world, but focus on Christ. We become useless to God’s kingdom when we lose our focus on Jesus and focus on the world. A wonderful example of the consequences of taking our focus off Jesus is Peter, the one who walked on water. The moment that Peter took his eyes off him, he sank. This is exactly what God doesn’t want for us. Instead of us focusing on when Christ will return, focus on those you can reach for his kingdom now.

In my life, I like to control things. I worry. I get bossy. Instead of allowing God to be my king and lord over me, I try to be my own lord. I focus on the little things rather than the big picture that is Jesus. I’m probably not the only one like this. No one wants to give over their freedom and sense of authority. In reality, we all need to just give our problems and worries to God and allow him to use us in his story. We are the hands and feet of Christ, let’s start acting like it.

Sidney

Judgement

Judgement is something done so easily, even subconsciously. The majority of us have been in the situation of walking through the halls at school, and seeing someone wearing something you don’t like or listening to music you find annoying. So, you laugh, roll your eyes, and make fun of them or judge them. But how is that glorifying God? Obviously it isn’t.

In 1 Peter 4:5-6, the bible says, “but they give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For, this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead. That though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does”. Also, in Romans 14:13, it says, “therefore let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother”. As Christians, who live by the gospel and give praise to the Lord, we live not to condemn or to judge but instead we now live to love others as God first loved us. We don’t know what is going on in the hearts and lives of others. So be careful not to judge based on what you cannot see.

This does not mean we never speak up when we see someone living in sin. Instead, Jesus gives us a caution of how to speak truth in love to someone in Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye”. We are called to check our own hearts first and then that will allow us the compassion and care to speak truth in love to those who are like us-people in need of His grace. We don’t disregard sin, but we also don’t act self-righteous or superior to those we see living in sin. The way we speak truth to people says a lot about what God has done in our own hearts.

It is not our place to judge the hearts of others here on earth. God is the One who ultimately judges the hearts of mankind. We are called to glorify God in all that we do and by living that way we hold out to those trapped in sin a better way to live (for the glory of God).
Jenna

In it, Not Of It

“For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you.”-1 Peter 4:3-4

When I was a little girl, I wanted to fit in. I was obsessed with getting people to like me, even if that meant doing things or being somebody that I’m not. And as I complained to my parents about not getting to do what everyone else was doing, my dad would ask, “If your friends drove off a cliff, would you too?” Chances are you’ve been asked that silly question once or twice, but you’ve never really thought about what it meant. What that question is really asking is whether or not you will conform to the human passions of this world or make a stand for what you know to be pleasing to God. This begins the call for us to be in the world, not of it.

1 Peter, chapter 4, shows us that we are called to have nothing to do with sinful pleasures, even if that makes people persecute us. God wants us to be the example of him to the people who do not know him. He wants our non-action to speak words. On top of all this, he wants us to be compassionate and not to condemn those that do not follow him. What does the pronouncement of judgment accomplish? By not condemning those who malign us, we shine God’s grace and allow them to feel his love. God knows this is a difficult task. He knows that there will be times of great weakness and temptation, but God’s grace will shine through us no matter how weak we feel (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Today I urge you to put down the bottle, or whatever it is you’re struggling with and pick up Gods word. Let him fix the brokenness within you.

Sidney

Living For The Will of God

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” –1 Peter 4:1-2

Last week we discussed suffering for Christ. This week we’re going to look at how to live for God because Christ suffered for us. In 1 Peter, Chapter 4, Peter lays out the idea of living for Christ. Peter says that when believers are willing to endure suffering in Christ’s name, they allow God to make their purpose in life to live according to his will and for his glory rather than for their own earthly pleasures. As followers of Christ, we are called to be like Jesus. Jesus is a perfect example of someone who fully lived for the will of God. That’s why Peter tells us to arm ourselves with the same purpose as Christ: to live according to the will of God, even if that means that we have to suffer.

What does that mean for us? We must evaluate our lives and refocus who or what we are living for. We must shine Jesus’ light in all that we do. Today, I urge you to pray and ask God to reveal to you the areas in your life that do NOT glorify him. Begin to look for ways to shine his light, his love, and his grace.

Sidney

Trust In Him

When someone brings up the idea of trust, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Do you think of your family, friends, boyfriend, or girlfriend? Most of these people are the ones we entrust our deepest secrets and feelings to. But why? People build trust through relationships. This is the simplest answer to a very complicated question. Followers of Christ believe the only way to a relationship with God, is trusting him with your whole heart. Although this act is true, it is not as easy as it seems, because it involves one task many people struggle with, faith. “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their soul to a faithful creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:19). Faith means to have complete trust or confidence in something or someone. This is what it truly means to trust in God. I find myself constantly struggling with this aspect in my life. I want to rule my own life and take all the credit for myself, until, of course, things get difficult. But this is not putting all of your trust in Jesus. In fact, it’s just clinging onto a false sense of security that you will be able to control your own life. God does not work this way, yes, he is forgiving, but don’t take advantage of the love he engulfs you with. Everyone sins, and everyone second guesses their faith at times, especially when life throws a curve ball at you that you were not expecting. Instead of living your life day to day with the hope that someone or something good will happen, surrender your heart to the creator of the universe, and trust that he will take you where you need to be.

I pray that you talk to God about your struggles, and ask him for guidance, build a trust that you have never built before. I promise you, you won’t worry about the little things in life as much, and your heart will be at ease.

Rylee

Love One Another

Our world revolves around love. How you view things and perceive people, all comes back to love. “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good. Let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:10-11). People, especially teenagers, build their own view of what “love” is. I can assure you what you may think it is, is in no comparison to how much Christ loves you. He loved us so much that he died for us, he suffered an unimaginable death, showing us undeserving love.

Jesus spoke to his would be followers about love: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). This verse is calling you to love the Lord with all of your heart. No matter the circumstances, pain or suffering you may or may not be encountering, live your life for God. To live for God is to love one another, enemy, friend, or family. Love as God loves you. Doing so, your heart will be open to Christ, and you may view love a little differently.

Rylee

Hope

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1Peter 3:15-16). This verse tells us to be prepared to defend the hope that is in us. So, what is hope? It is to trust in, wait for, and expect something beneficial in the future.

As Christians, we trust in the promise of salvation, we wait for the day we get to meet Him, and see a future after the struggle. Realizing there is a “why” for our struggle even though we may never fully understand the reason, gives us hope. Everyone struggles and faces difficulties. As teenagers, we face unrealistic expectations, peer pressure, and live in a very judgmental society. As Christians, the verse recognizes another challenge we face, that we will be slandered for our faith by those who do not believe. Living a Christ like life might be difficult and filled with challenges, but it is essential to our testimony. Those who have a “why” to hope can bear any struggle. What’s your why?

-Audrey