“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.” -1 Peter 5:8 MSG
I always thought that scripture was for the non-failures. This warning does no good for those who have already been pounced. But, that’s not how it works. Scripture breathes and it speaks, but it only makes sense when you use the light of the Gospel to see it. These words are meant to speak to you wherever you are. They are true no matter what you do.
You who are cowered in the corner, the directionless zombie, these words are for you, too. There is still hope. You can hear it in the scriptures. People don’t make them mean something, the Gospel does. The Gospel is “all men saved” and “no man left behind.” If you’ve fallen off your wagon, you need to hear these words.
“Keep your guard up.” -1 Peter 5:9 MSG
It’s not too late for you to keep your guard up. Hissing thoughts are attacking the cross and they’ll tell you that you’re finished. Who wins when you believe that? If you’re still alive, then there is still hope. Keep your guard up. Remember Jesus. Remember what he came to do, why he came to do it, and what his last words were. “It is finished.” That means that you are not finished. You are not exempt from the sacrifice.
You don’t get to choose your value. He chose it for you when he spread his arms. Every time he could have cried out for angelic rescue, he held his tongue because of you.
“You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world.” -1 Peter 5:9 MSG
There is purpose for the pain. Something is dying in you and it is supposed to die. Think about what it is that you miss. Your good name? You have a new name. You have to let go of the old to accept the new. What better way to get you to let go of your old than to have it tarnished with your human nature? Your track record? Your track record was keeping you from relying on grace. It’s grace that saves, not your ability to always choose right. What better way to get you to rely on grace than to show you that you are unreliable? We all have to go through the process of losing ourselves to find real life. “It’s the same with Christians all over the world.” You believe something false when you don’t believe that God still wants you. This has to change and you’re in the middle of it.
“So keep a firm grip on the faith.” -1 Peter 5:9 MSG
Jesus is the center of that faith. Do you believe what he did? I know it’s hard to believe that he did it for you because you feel so unworthy, but that’s the point. You are exactly who he knew you were. You haven’t deceived him, you’ve only deceived yourself. You thought you were better than this and the truth has been the truth the whole time, you just didn’t know it. You’ve never been better than this and that is why he came. Why else would such extreme measures be taken by the God who created you? Life is a process of growing and pruning, pain and healing. He cuts you back to the basics of faith so that you don’t get caught up in yourself and lose him. You were further from him in all your sparkly goodness than you are right now in all your brokenness. The Gospel is good news to sinners. The key to salvation is belief. That’s where you are right now. You may have grown up with faith talk, but this is different. This is real. You know it’s real because the pain drowns out everything else. It’s the deathbed realization. Priorities get realigned in tragedy.
“The suffering won’t last forever.” -1 Peter 5:10 MSG
He knows you are suffering, but he’s telling you that it won’t last forever. He never said it wouldn’t hurt. The hurt burns out the false so that the only think left is truth. I’ve been there, too, and I promise you, his words are true. “The suffering won’t last forever.”
“It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.” -1 Peter 5:10-11 MSG
He has a plan and a purpose for your life. You may have messed up what you thought He had planned, but who do you think it is that you’re serving? God gets the last word concerning you and you can look at Jesus to see what He said. He gets the last word. That means that your sin doesn’t. Thank God.