WATCH THIS VIDEO FIRST, THEN READ THE DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT BELOW.
The Endurance – 1 Peter 5:1-11
I don’t like to exercise. In fact, I prefer not to move at all. So you’ll understand how crazy it was when my friends and I decided to sign up for a 10-mile race. Not 1 mile. Not a 5k. NO. TEN STINKING MILES. Guys, that’s a really long way.
While I am generally a very positive person, there is something about exercising that brings on the negativity in me. As soon as I even think about exercise, I have the compulsion to complain and whine about how terrible it all is and how there is no possible way for me to participate. Add this to a 10-mile race. Not a good combination, people!
But peer pressure is a real thing and my friends were NOT going to let me back out of this one. So, I had to figure out how on earth I was ever going to be able to run 10 miles. The task was daunting and most of the time, very overwhelming.
Our spiritual lives can feel the same way. The idea of living a holy life that is set apart for Jesus, one that declares His glory each and every day by laying our lives down for the sake of others, is a monumental task! Plus, when we consider all the struggles that come along with it, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged.
Peter knows this as he concludes his first epistle. He knows the sufferings and struggles would feel daunting to the followers of Jesus, so he ends his letter with a message of endurance. He gives encouragement for how to keep going, even when it seems impossible.
For my 10-mile race, I had to show up every day for training. That was the first step! The same goes for our faith. We have to show up every day! 1 Peter 5:2 says, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve.” In order to endure in our faith, we need to show up with a willing spirit. We might not have it all together, but we are at least going to show up.
Next, in my race, I had to be prepared. I needed to get good shoes to wear. I had to have water ready so I wouldn’t get dehydrated. I had to have a plan for training and a plan to get past the days I was tempted to just stay in bed. Our journey with Christ demands preparation as well! We have to have the right equipment (1 Peter 5:5). We have to have the right fuel and source of strength (1 Peter 5:7). We have to have a plan for the tough days (1 Peter 5:8-9).
Finally, my race required encouragement! I could not have done it without my friends who were pushing me to continue and cheering me on. I needed an outside source to remind me of my purpose and to strengthen me. Our faith requires encouragement! We have each other to be encouragers in our faith, but our greatest encourager is God himself. 1 Peter 5:10 says, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” AMAZING! God restores us and gives us encouragement to keep going! We simply need to be open to seeing it and receiving it from him.
Friends, we can run the race that God has set before us. We can live out the hope we have in Jesus through holy, righteous lives. We can declare God’s glory even as we face trials and offer up our lives for the sake of others, even when it’s hard. And we can endure, because we have the greatest encourager and source of strength – God himself. Time to Reflect:
Have you ever felt like giving up in your faith? How were you able to continue?
How do you keep yourself prepared in your faith journey? What helps you keep going?