Saturday, May 28, 2011

Who is the boss in your heart?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Peter 3:8-22

TO CHEW ON: "But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. 'And do not be afraid of their threats nor be troubled.' But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts." 1 Peter 3:14-15a

The fact of God actually living in people is a concept that spans the Old and New Testaments. However, Jesus sheds new light on it ("new" at least to the people of His time) when He explains the role of the Holy Spirit in the process.
  • Jesus calls Him the "Helper" whom He has petitioned the Father to send. This Helper will live with, indeed, in them - John 14:15-18. 
  • He will give them assurance of eternal life, interaction with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and He is the assurance of God's love - John 14:19-21.

Paul talks often about this life of Christ within people. Some of the things he tells us about it:
  • It is a life of faith that begins when we accept Christ's substitutionary death for our sin as our means of salvation (not our own works) - Galatians 2:20.
  • It helps us know the love of God - Ephesians 3:17-19.
  • It is the hope of a wonderful future beyond this life - Colossians 1:27.

Peter's words in our reading today talk about this life to believers who are in the middle of persecution. His short statement, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts" comes right after he addresses their apparent puzzlement over bad treatment. They are righteous but they are suffering. Why? He reminds that this suffering is, in the Kingdom of God's upside-down way, a blessing (Matthew 5:10), and not to fear but rather to "sanctify (or set apart) the Lord God in your hearts."

He is telling them, in effect, Let God be the Lord (boss) in these things. Accept even persecution as from Someone who knows about it, who has power over it, yet is allowing it. 


The Message puts it this way:
"Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master" - 1 Peter 3:15
As Paul explains in Romans "...all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." That purpose includes being conformed to the image of Jesus. Persecution may be a part of it. But the end of the story is good. It is glory - Romans 8:27-30.

Whatever we are facing, have we done this — set apart Jesus as Lord? Settled once and for all that He is in charge of our lives and is working His good purposes in them even through negative circumstances? Let's put this into practice:
  • By faith accept that Jesus lives in us by the Holy Spirit.
  • Believe that He loves us.
  • Sanctify Him as Lord — our hands off; He's in charge.
  • Let the good and bad things (at least 'bad' according to how we feel about them) He sends our way conform us to Jesus' image.
  • Live in hope not of this world's rewards but of glory in eternity.
PRAYER: Dear God, how often I take the steering wheel of my life back into my hands. How easily I question whether You know what You're doing when unpleasant things come my way. Help me to enthrone You as Lord in a moment-by-moment way today. Amen.

MORE: "Father of My Heart" - Fernando Ortega





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