Today we'll continue last week's post regarding our proper response to the coming persecution of Christians and Conservatives in America. In 1st Peter we come face to face with the truth that God's ways are, indeed, not our ways. Our first reaction is to be careful, so we don't draw unnecessary attention to ourselves. Self-preservation is a powerful motivator, and there's nothing wrong with being careful. The underground Church in China has gone to great lengths to stay under the radar. It's a matter of survival. Yet, Peter's focus in his first epistle isn't about safety. It's about holiness. Whereas man says, "Be careful," God says, "Be holy." Peter's emphasis is on living a holy life, free from all the gossip, criticism, attention-seeking, and envying that we used to engage in. He is saying that the best way to be "safe" is to please God by our chaste behavior. How's that for a paradigm shift?
If God is to be our protector, we must be "protectable," and Peter points us in the right direction by reminding us that we are not our own to do as we please. We are bond-slaves of Christ, purchased not with money at the auction block, but with our Master's own blood. Therefore, we are to live with a reverential fear of offending or displeasing Christ by our actions. Since we need our Lord's protection and loving care now more than ever, we must enter Christ's world instead of asking Him to help us survive in our world. We must learn to walk by faith and not by sight. What we see can be frightening, but God will carry us through everything He has ordained for us if we will submit completely to our Master, focusing on the assignments He has given us instead of simply staying under the radar.
It's Spiritual Warfare
The warfare is about to begin, but since it's ultimately a spiritual war, the rules are drastically different. The battle belongs to the Lord, but His earthly warriors are called to be holy, and holiness includes obedience. I hope you can see a pattern here. Warfare doesn't change what God has been saying all along. It means we will need to take it much more seriously than we have been. This will keep us safe as much as taking earthly precautions.
What to Obey?
So, what are the marching orders we are to obey? I would place fervently loving one another at the top of the list (1:22) and using our gifts in serving and building each other up (4:10). This goes way beyond tolerating those we really don't care for. It's time to ask God to manifest His love through us to everyone around us. We may not know what fervent love looks like, but Jesus certainly does, and He is ready to manifest that love as soon as we become willing.
Go to God
We are called to be spiritual preppers right now by offering our bodies as living sacrifices, once and for all, submitting ourselves completely to Christ so He can manifest all these qualities through us right now. More on this next week, but for now, spend some time with the Father regarding your submission and obedience. You can be certain that He will hear all requests to become spiritual preppers.