I was reading through 1 Peter during my devotional time last week, and the closing remarks at the end of the letter really struck me: My purpose in writing is to encourage you and to assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace. 1 Peter 5:12b NLT
Peter authored this letter and sent it to the believers who were scattered throughout the area known today as Turkey. These people were facing fierce persecution and physical abuse at the hands of unbelievers in the area. Throughout the letter, he reminds them of all that Christ had done to grant them salvation, and also challenges them to continue living holy lives before their persecutors.
Although most of us won’t experience the kind of resistance that believers faced in New Testament times, we do face significant resistance from the culture and world in which we live. The world around offers a multitude of distractions, enticements, and alternatives to the things that we know that we should be doing. Our jobs, schedules, media, activities, and our physical health have become the preferred methods of distracting us and leaving us disillusioned with the thought of improvement in our lives.
During this time of year, many people review their position in life and resolve to make positive changes occur in themselves and the world around them. Most never see the change that are hoping to make. Not because they can’t, but rather because they won’t. Whenever life gets to hard, or the distractions get too big or too many, they just quit.
I hope that you, dear reader, are not counted among those who quit. I hope that whatever you are attempting to do, you realize that the hardships that you are facing are there to get you off track, and that you persevere in spite of them, or maybe even because of them.
Peter concludes that passage by telling them to stand firm in God’s grace. I believe that God gives us dreams and desires that we know that we can not accomplish within ourselves specifically so that we will lean into him more and more. When we know that he is guiding us, even when the skies are dark and the road is rough, we can confidently trust him to see us through it, if we will just stay the course, and stand firm.