Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
–1 Peter 1:13
How do you keep from panicking in a hostile world? First, Peter said, be disciplined in your thinking. Second, be obedient in your conduct. Look at 1 Peter 1:14-16: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” That word “holy” literally means “to be separate.” If you want to live successfully in this threatening world, be separate in your conduct. That does not mean separate yourself from other people. So many Christians get mixed up about this. They think we are supposed to live in a Christian commune somewhere so we do not get tainted by the world. No, 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “We are ambassadors for Christ.” If we are to be Christ’s representatives in this world, then we ought to be in contact with our culture and in contact with non-Christians. We have to be willing to confront that which is ungodly in our society. We are to be in the world, yet we are to be different in the way we conduct ourselves.
How do we pull that off? Peter gave us the answer in 1 Peter 1:13: “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” He was saying, “Fix your hope completely on the return of Jesus Christ.” The promise that Jesus is coming back again ought to permeate our every thought. It is what keeps us diligent. My wife, Amy, and I started dating when we were in the ninth grade. The first time we were ever apart for any significant amount of time was when we went off to college. She went to the University of Texas in Austin; I went to Baylor University in Waco. We were going to be separated for two whole weeks. In the first few days, I just moped around the campus. Then I started going to classes, and I started studying. But what kept me going that whole time was: “In two weeks I am going to see Amy.” The thought of that future reunion is what gave me hope for the present. It is the same way for us as Christians. Yes, we have responsibilities here on earth that we are to be diligent in performing. But our minds are to be fixated on the fact that Jesus is coming back for us one day. Because of that we are to be obedient in our conduct.
Peter’s third command is to be reliant on God’s grace. C. S. Lewis called this world “enemy-occupied territory.” How can we survive, much less thrive, in enemy-occupied territory? Look at what Peter said in 1 Peter 5:12: “This is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!” What does that mean? Whenever we think of grace, we think of God’s undeserved favor that resulted in our salvation. But in the Bible, grace also refers to God’s supernatural help. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul said he prayed three times that God would remove this physical ailment that he had. Every time, God said no. Then He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (v. 9). God has promised us His grace, His supernatural help. It stiffens our spiritual spines with courage. That is why we do not need to fear.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #1: Don’t Panic” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
C. S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity” (1952; repr., New York: HarperOne, 2007), 46.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org