Title: 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times
Author: Sue Edwards
Publisher: Kregel Publishers
Lesson 8 (pages 65-72): Persevere with the End in Mind
How comfortable is our society with talking about and dealing with our own mortality?
I wonder if our society even recognizes “mortality” anymore or if the Church does. It appears that we have “dressed down” or “quieted down” mortality. How do we really face the issue, if we even do? For those who have a relationship with the Lord, it is amazing that we can “walk in the valley of the shadow of death”, but we never have to allow the fear to capture the soul. To those who are in Christ, it is but a shadow, a passage from this life to life evermore with Christ. Society doesn’t face the reality of the eternal with honesty. Many express nice sentiments or feelings, but they tend not to be rooted in the Truth of where that person may be spending eternity. They devise clever ways to express what they consider truth, but by reading the Bible, it is evident nothing could be further from the Truth. Society and perhaps the Church as well have no “fear” of God. We, the Church, make Him sometimes appear different than the Holy Righteous God that He is. Therefore, why should society have anything but nice thoughts, mere smoke as it were, to comfort them, which amounts to nothing?
Peter offers instructions on how to live with the end in mind. Placing a priority on prayer is of utmost importance. What two characteristics greatly enhance an authentic and consistent prayer life?
The two characteristics are: a clear mind & self-control. When I went back to the original language and read more, it seems that Peter is referring to denying themselves anything that would cloud their thinking and therefore inhibit them in prayer. Clear-minded was defined as “to be of sound mind, be in right mind, sober” (Vines). Self-control meant “to abstain from wine, be sober, watch” (Vines). To me, this doesn’t “enhance” prayer as much as gives a command in order to be able to pray. How would this apply today? I think for those who consume alcohol once in a while this applies. However, I wonder if it isn’t also applicable to anything that distracts us from being single-minded when we pray or anything that will prevent us from being able to be in communion with Him through The Holy Spirit without having our minds filled with “horizontal” thoughts to the point that we are “vertically” unattached.
In light of the blessings ahead for faithful believers, how should we live, even in hard times? Regardless of if the times are hard or not, daily living with the eternal perspective changes how we respond, react or view the temporal life on earth. I have been learning this through a long season of trials, sufferings, deaths, caregiving and more.