April 15, 2022
1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
God’s people, all over the world, are going through trials and sufferings all the time. Some of its is direct evil and demonic persecution delivered through human agency. Some of it is a kind of spiritual warfare coming from demonic attack, often exploiting the vulnerabilities common to us all, like human brokenness, generational sin, relational dysfunction, infirmity and affliction. Much of it comes through the demonic strategy of pride (image management) born of insecure attachments at the core of our being and manifesting itself through all manner of anxiety born of a worldview anchored in scarcity and existential fear. (This is why we drink, smoke, overeat, hoard resources, and otherwise stay professionally distracted.) But I digress.
Everyone of us are dealing with something right now, or we are trying to help someone else who is dealing with something, or both. Peter’s coaching here is nothing less than prescient for, as the hymn writer sings, “the facing of this hour.” As I began working through 1 Peter 5:5-9, I thought Peter was giving us a few different closing “swing thoughts.” I am now convinced the Holy Spirit is revealing to us how faith works. Here’s what I’m getting:
As we draw into our core being and welcome Jesus to form, transform and nourish our true identity (humility), he fills us with his Spirit who displaces anxiety with deep attachment becoming security— and from this place of deep security we learn to stand firm in “the faith,” resist evil (via the world, the flesh and the devil), and move in the world through the other-worldly power of love.
Jesus is building his Church, which is a veritable seedbed of this kind of life formation. See what I just did there (wink)? This doesn’t really happen in isolation but in banded fellowship. Persons don’t become a “people,” through buying more books and learning more information and trying harder to be a better version of their old self. We become a people by sharing deeply in one another’s lives, learning to love one another and be loved by one another into our true selves and our real lives. This is the chosen people, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, and God’s special possession. Indeed, this Church Jesus is building is God’s special possession in all the world, for this is how God saves the world.
As we stand together on Good Friday, at the foot of the Wonderful Cross where “love ran red” we will do well to remember “the faith” Peter exhorts us to “stand firm” in. This is how we resist Satan. Let us unite in this historic confession of our Christian faith:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.
He descended into hell. On the third day he arose from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitters at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.
Wake up sleeper and rise from the dead. . .
Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Today, we want to stand still and behold the deliverance of our God. As you were lifted up on the Cross, you delivered us from sin, death and darkness. Indeed, you split the sea so we could walk right through it, drowning our fears in perfect love, as the song sings. Holy Spirit, bring us onto the inside of this redemption today like never before. We don’t want a better version of our old life. We want the New Creation Life in fullness. Praying in Jesus’ name, Amen.
How is the trial or suffering you are presently enduring shaping your faith, drawing you into core attachment to Jesus, displacing anxiety, and strengthening the perseverance of love in you?
P.S. The Domino Effect (Colossians) begins Monday on the Daily Text
On Monday we begin a fifty day journey through Paul’s letter from a Roman prison cell to the Church in Colossae. The series is called The Domino Effect and is one of my favorites. We actually have the books in the Seed House and encourage you to get a copy today. And please invite family and friends to join us in the series.