Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. -1Peter 2:18-19 NASB

Interesting how Peter speaks of suffering unjustly. He goes on to contrast this voluntary suffering with the kind that we sometimes suffer justly because of our sins. Here is what a pastor writes about this kind of suffering:
The willingness of God’s people to suffer out of love for others—including our enemies—rather than use coercive force against them must still be considered the ultimate expression of God’s love and the ultimate resistance against the patterns of this world.
I have found this principle of voluntary suffering to be very helpful when I am wronged. When I suffer I am reminded that the One who I follow suffered much injustice. With his dying breath he forgave injustices committed against him.

I offer my life to you Lord as a living sacrifice. Help me to be like you. Teach me to love.

... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.


Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. -1Peter 2:17

Love the way that The Message renders this verse. Other versions use honor or respect. These words describe the way that we should interact with others. In truth, we do not follow Jesus' command to love people if we do not treat them with dignity. With respect. With honor. The things that we ourselves want the most from other people.

The principle also applies to our attitudes toward institutions like churches and governments. I have been guilty of showing these disrespect instead of dignity. It is sometimes a hard thing to. We really do not want to give respect and dignity to anyone or any group unless they first earn it. This speaks more about us than about them.

Help us today Lord to show our reverence for you by the dignity that we show others.

... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.

Live as free people. Live as God’s slaves.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. -1Peter 2:13-16 NIV

I have come to understand that submission to authority is not always a good thing. Sometimes human authority, when it is at odds with God's love and goodness, must be resisted. And resisted strongly. In this passage Paul instructs us to live as both free people and as slaves. As people who act in such a way as to silence foolish and ignorant people.

It can be confusing if one believes that despots and tyrants have God's seal of approval. Yet when we understand that the kingdom of God is spiritual in nature we are able to sort out the ways that we must live under human authority. Human governance is often not in line with divine rule. God's kingdom is all about love. Love is the reason we freely submit to human authority. And love is the reason that we resist it. When we freely love we show ourselves to be his slaves.

Help us to be ambassadors of your kingdom Lord. Teach us to love the way that you love.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. -1Peter 2:11-12 MSG

I love the way that The Message bible paraphrases Peter's words here. When I think about sinning I am confronted by how much my ego controls my daily activities. Daily I make choices that indulge my ego and reject the things that feed my soul. To me it is all about what Greg Boyd calls voluntary suffering. We cause our ego to suffer when we reject sin.

Yet spiritual life is so much more than denying our ego driven impulses. Living an exemplary life is all about loving our neighbors. Being kind. Patient. Forgiving. Hopeful. By these humble qualities many will know that we are followers of Jesus. The Spirit will use us to win folks over when we refuse to indulge our egos. Humility is such an attractive quality.

Help us to walk humbly with you today Lord.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

What makes a nation holy?

You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. -1Peter 2:9 NET

When I think of what it means to be holy, I do not think of religious behaviors or theological mumbo jumbo. William Barclay said that the fundamental meaning of "holy" is "different". I like that. Yet being" different" can create a significant challenge for most of us. I mean who really wants to buck the trends and societal norms. Just look at the life of Jesus.

He came with a very holy and different message. Extrapolating from his teachings, it would be fair to say that the holy nation that we are called to is one where we love and forgive our enemies. Our priesthood should be known as lovers of God and neighbors. Under divine governance, this light filled nation would showcase the goodness of God.

Help us Lord to live out our royal calling to be priests that showcase your goodness to the world.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

A Rock to Trip Over

It says in scripture, “Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.” So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over. -1Peter 2:6-8 NET

What we believe about God makes all the difference. I once stumbled in darkness. Adversity, pain and a broken theology blinded me. I stumbled over God because I thought he was part of the problem. In reality, a superficial understanding of God's interactions with humanity causes many to stumble. Even believers stumble when adversity darkens their door.

If one believes that God has singled them out for suffering they fall prey to the erroneous theology of Job. In error they stumble, seeing God as an adversary rather than an ally. Yet when we believe, we stand firm on an eternal cornerstone. We embrace a chosen and precious Messiah that does not shame us with adversity but encourages us in painful times.

Open the eyes of our heart Lord. That we may see you clearly and not stumble with a broken theology.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.