“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with…humility and meekness…” Philippians 2:3-4 share Jesus’ example of humility and meekness as “doing nothing from self-ambition, considering others better than self, and putting the interest of others ahead of your own.” If this represents the best in humility and meekness, how would I look different in my actions toward those around me if I put on these qualities? In what way could I practically put others interest first through this next week? Spirit of Christ; help me this practice putting others interests ahead of mine. Make me aware. Amen.
NOTE: This Lenten season I will focus our devos on “clothing ourselves with the character of Jesus.” Often Lent focuses on “giving up something” and leaves “putting on the new” untouched.
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion and kindness…” These qualities are not something we possess, but rather the manner in which we live with people in everyday life. I think of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery in John 8, how did Jesus show compassion and kindness in this real life situation? How does compassion and kindness show through my life? How can I intentionally practice these in my life and ministry? Holy Spirit, Spirit of Christ, clothe me with your compassion and kindness. Amen.
“Put to death whatever in you is earthly…clothe yourselves with…” Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent in the Christian Calendar. Often I have heard people ask, “What are you giving up for Lent.” Often Lent is seen as sacrifice and giving up. Historically, Lent is giving up that which hinders our relationship with God and taking up (“clothe yourselves”), that which aids our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Why is putting off and putting on both important in spiritual growth? What will you do to aid your relationship with God? Lord Jesus, draw me closer. Amen.
“Tend the flock of God…” Peter offers a string of advice to Christian leaders: Tend the flock (2), humble yourselves (6), cast your cares on God (7), discipline yourself (8), resist the devil (9). Peter seems to have a different kind of advice than what I hear at many pastors and leader’s conferences today. What does humility, casting our cares on God, discipline, and resisting the devil have to do with Christian leadership and tending the flock of God for you? In the midst of mission and ministry; Jesus, help us stay close to you heart and your ways.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you as though something strange were happening…” Evidently Peter’s congregation struggled as we do in the contemporary church. We are surprised that we might not “fit” with a world that does not embrace Christ or Christian Faith. What does it mean to share in Christ’s suffering? How can we rejoice when we find ourselves treated like we don’t fit in? We entrust ourselves to you and your will, O faithful Creator. Help us to trust in you and live a Christ-like life.
“It is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil.” Peter’s instruction is to Christians living in a world in which they do not fit in. Let us always be ready to tell of Jesus Christ, the reason for our hope, but let it be with gentleness toward people and reverence for God. Are we suffering for Christ if our attitudes/behaviors are reflecting selfishness or pride rather than the character of Christ? How does this passage speak to me today? May my life reflect your character, O Jesus, my Savior.
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men…” There have been many sermons about submission. They often focus upon who submits to whom. Peter’s context of this discussion is about how submission is a witness to Christ and a different way of life in the believer. What authority is easy for me to submit to? Where do I find submission difficult? - Help me Holy Spirit, to concern myself more with the why of submission (the witness to a life in Christ), than the struggles I have with the authorities in my life. Amen.
“But you are a chosen people…I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires…” Knowing who we are and who we are not leads to behaviors that are consistent with our identity in Christ. Does my life and behavior cause all who see to glorify God? – May my life conform to your mercy and calling upon my life and your church bring honor to your name. Amen.
“Therefore, prepare you minds for action; be self-controlled; set you hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Peter reminds us that active waiting and intense searching has always been part of faithful following of God. We should not be surprised that we do not have all the answers and fulfillment of our faith right now. What would you like God to reveal to you right now? How are you waiting in mind, heart, and spirit these days? – Spirit of God, prepare my mind and control my emotions; set my hope on you.
“In His great mercy he has given us…” 1 Peter begins with good news as we begin a new year. Many look back at the year past and look ahead to the opportunities ahead. As Christians, this exercise always finds meaning, not in our own efforts, intentions, and desires, but in the great mercy God has given, in the new birth we have in Christ, and the living hope with have through his resurrection. What is your prayer as you begin a new year? - Your mercy O God, your birthing O Christ, your hope O Spirit. Amen.