Last Thursday, I went to Bible study at a good friend’s home. That evening, they were concluding a study on the book of 1 Peter, focusing on chapter 5. We reviewed the book of 1 Peter in its entirety, however, as we read put loud the entire book from start to finish, as was historically done.
By the time we got to chapter 5, my attention had already focused on several themes throughout the book (purity + holiness, and facing trials). (SO many good things fill the pages of 1 Peter – go read it yourself! A favorite of mine is 1:3-9 – at least read that passage!) In this post, however, I want to focus on chapter 5. The time was getting shorter and shorter before I left for camp, and therefore how I could apply these rich Scripture verses was on my mind. Rather, God placed these Scripture verses on my heart as He whispered the following truths into my heart:
>There is a war raging; the devil prowls around like a roaring lion. I need to be ready for spiritual warfare and watchful of this.
>”Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
>In past summers, specifically last summer at training, spiritual warfare was brought to my attention by ESh. It was a good reminder last summer that it exists and that it is prevalent.
>Going into this summer, after reading this passage of Scripture, I am reminded once again of the reality of spiritual warfare and how active the devil is. I, alongside the rest of the SpringHill staff, am doing something big for the kingdom – hundreds of thousands of campers will come to a SpringHill location over the duration of the summer of 2016 and will hear the Gospel message. This is something that angels cheer on, God smiles upon, and the devil hates. I can’t wait to be a part of it, but I also need to not be so naïve in that I am unaware of the war that is raging.
- RESIST HIM, STANDING FIRM IN MY FAITH
>This summer, I must seek confidence not in anything I have done, but in what Jesus has done on the cross, confidence in the Father’s love, and confidence that the Holy Spirit will be with me every step of the way.
>”Resist him [the devil], standing firm in the faith…”
>I cannot be confident in my own ways, nor can I resist the devil with my own power. I need the Lord on my side, fighting every battle with me. I cannot become confident in what I think I have done, but I must boast in Christ Jesus and what He has done for me on the cross.
>”May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Galatians 6:14)
>I must be confident in nothing I can give out, but through the Father’s love for me and how I can work in that love and give His love out to others.
>None of this can be done on my own, but it is through the Holy Spirit working in and through me, walking with me every step of the way.
>”But I say, walk by the Spirit…If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16, 25)
- ABIDE/CONTENTMENT/WISDOM IN FEEDING OTHERS
>Verses 2 and 3 of 1 Peter chapter 5 focuses on abiding in the Lord where you are at, being content in where He has given you to be, and being wise in how you feed others.
>I looked this verse up in several different versions, and loved all of them, so I’ll share them with you:
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”
“Tend/nurture/guard/guide the flock of God that is your responsibility, not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits belonging to the office, but eagerly and cheerfully.”
“Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way.”
“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by our own good example.”
>In all these versions of the two verses, I realized several different things. First off, I am to shepherd the flock that is among me. This is where contentment comes in. Abiding in the Lord and where He has placed me this summer, not comparing myself to the right or to the left, but staying on the straight and narrow path, eyes fixated on Christ. Second, I noticed that the people among me – those that are under my care – they are the flock of God. The Lord has entrusted me with tending to and nurturing His own. This is a responsibility that I do not take lightly Third, I am doing this not out of a burden, not because I have to, but because I am eager to serve God. That is the sole purpose of me being on this earth – to glorify and serve the Lord, and for this summer, that means tending to His flock by nurturing others. Lastly, I am to act in a way that keeps the focus off of myself. I am not to calculate what I am getting out of it, because ultimately, it is not about me. I am to care for the flock in a selfless manner and in a way that tenderly shows them the way, being a humble and righteous example to them.