We are diving into 1 and 2 Peter with grateful hearts for the way he expresses praise with heartfelt enthusiasm for God and what He has done in Peter’s own life. It seems to me, after years of learning and watching others, those who serve with a smile on their faces, no matter what the circumstances, and encourage me in my walk have a “backstory” of pain, trials, failures, abandonment and betrayal in their past. They have used the pain to gain more wisdom and come out of it healthier in God eyes than most around me. They are the ones who encourage best with sincere hearts, not flattery phrases to get what they want, but a heart’s desire to help you along your journey. Peter is one of those persons.
Peter seems to have been a natural leader, commanding the respect of his peers by sheer force of personality. In every listing of Jesus’ disciples, Peter’s name is invariably first. Jesus called him “the Rock”, the one who would later build his church. Peter could have taken over…but he didn’t. He stayed out of the center, didn’t wield power and maintained a scrupulous subordination to Jesus. That’s impressive.
Peter is a breath of fresh air. The two letters Peter wrote exhibit the qualities of Jesus that the Holy Spirit shaped in him; a readiness to embrace suffering rather than prestige, a wisdom developed from experience and not imposed from a book, a humility that lacked nothing in vigor or imagination.
From what we know of Peter, he all the makings of a bully. That he didn’t become a bully (and religious bullies are the worst kind) but rather the boldly confident and humbly self-effacing servant of Jesus Christ is a compelling witness to what he himself describes as “a brand new life, with everything to live for.”
Yes, Peter is wildly encouraging to me in my journey and I think we can all learn to be encouragers by this powerful witness which gives glory to God.
“I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!”
“What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus!” 1 Peter 1, Msg
See what I mean…and this is only the beginning! Be encouraged…Be an encourager today!
Dear Heavenly Father, We are impressed with Peter’s enthusiasm and pray that we will be enthusiastic encouragers today as we journey on in ways that please you and give you glory. May others get a glimpse of You in us. In Jesus Name, Amen