Today’s text: Ezekiel 33-34 1 Peter 5
The art of letter writing, that is putting pen to paper, has almost been replaced by putting a finger, or thumb, to the keyboard. Before we had the ability to ‘cut, paste or insert’ there was a certain style to communicating with the written word. Writers would generally mention their key points early in the body of the letter. Whatever space that remained was where the focus was shifted to the more succinct thoughts and questions such as: “How is your Aunt Betty?” “Tell your family that I said hello.” As we ran out of space we would often use smaller letters and if even more space was required it was not too unusual to write up the margins. The 5th chapter of 1st Peter reminds me of that style. Short concise truths and personal thoughts lead us to the end of this small, simple but timeless epistle. Originally written as encouragement and instruction to scattered believers living in a hostile world some 2000 years ago, its wisdom is just as insightful as if it were authored today.
While there are several great points in this chapter the three that spoke the most vividly to me were, humility, self-control and grace. We clothe ourselves with humility when we submit ourselves under God’s mighty hand and surrender our cares and anxiety to his charge. Humility reaches fruition when we realize that neither our own wisdom nor our strength is sufficient and entrust our future wholly into his safekeeping.
Self-control speaks to discipline, restraint and clearness of mind. While we do have the privilege of casting our cares on him this doesn’t imply that we are to live carefree, rather we are to live purposefully, alertly and steadfastly in the faith.
Because we are so prone to stumbling we need to ever be mindful of the grace that restores us, strengthens us and keeps firm and steadfast in the faith.
I love how Peter puts it, “I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.”