The prize of our share in Christ’s eternal glory is the finish line for our spiritual endurance on this side of heaven. Therefore, do not lose sight of your prize!
What are the spiritual keys to our endurance in the marathon of life that we must obey to reach our happy prize?
I. The first spiritual key for endurance is grace to be humble (5-7).
• Here is quite possibly the most uncelebrated character quality in all of scripture. To some it is a sign of utter weakness and incompetence.
- How has your life, to this point, been impacted by this character quality of humility? Where do you sense the battle for humility being fought in your life against your pride? Will you commit to confessing and praying about it?
- How do you suppose your own humble approach to circumstances in your life might quench some of the fires of hostility that you face in relationships? Where does surrender and submission come into play?
Isaiah 57:15 “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
- What strikes you about the paradox of this verse: our God who is high and holy dwelling with those who are contrite and lowly? What does it mean for God to stoop down to minister to the lowly?
Psalm 89:13 “You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand.”
Exodus 3:19-20 “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go.”
- What has been your experience “under the mighty hand of God”? In what ways has His mighty hand brought correction and restoration? In what ways has His mighty hand delivered and rescued you? How have you down the care of the God under His mighty hand?
• What is the value of God’s presence to you? Is the cost of your humility before God and others worth the blessings of God’s presence, care, and strengthening hand both now and in your future? Why or why not?
II. The second spiritual key for endurance is grace to be Vigilant (8-11).
• This is the third time that Peter has commanded us to be sober-minded (see 1 Peter 1:13, 4:7). It is instructional to notice that in all 3 cases Peter commands our sober mindedness in light of the eternal glory of Christ.
• The vigilant person recognizes their adversary.
- How have you perceived Satan’s adversarial work in your own life? What disguises does he wear? What is he counterfeiting?
• The vigilant person resists their adversary.
• Resist can be understood as applying hostile rebellious opposition towards one’s opponent. Notice the instructions carefully: believers are to live in humble submission to God and to others, while rebelliously opposing their true adversary who is behind every cause and form of unjust suffering we face for the cause of Christ.
How do we resist this adversary?
• First, stand firm in your faith. To resist the onslaught of the devil we will need the feet of our faith firmly entrenched down into Christ.
• Second, know that you are not alone. Our faith is firmed up by the company we know we keep.
• Third, press into the gracious promises of God’s all-sufficient and sustaining grace.
- Compare the beginning of verse 10 with 1 Peter 1:6-7. In what way has Peter come full circle from where he began his letter? What is the spiritual importance of this practically to your life as you reflect back on what we’ve studied in 1 Peter?
- The 4 verbs presented in verse 10 are not commands to us but promises to us from God. What is the practical significance of the following promise: “…the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself…”?
• Note the promises of God and consider how God has and is working these graces in your own experience.
• Restore – This is the promise of God to put in order what has gone wrong. It means to untangle and refit for proper usefulness. In Matthew 4:21 it is translated ‘mending the nets’.
• Confirm – This speaks of God’s work to settle the believer who is unsettled. God’s grace to uphold.
• Strengthen – this word means to firm up. This is strength in the inner man.
• Establish – Sometimes its translated steadfast. It refers to the foundation of one’s life. God must take us deep in our spiritual experience and walk with Him.
• The care of God is shown in the fact that He has promised to do all of this in us and for us, Himself! Only Christ has the eternal dominion to do this work in any and every believer (1 Pet. 5:11)!
III. The third spiritual key for endurance is grace to Stand Firm in grace (12-14).
• If it were not for the power of grace to establish us in grace itself we would all plunge ourselves back into our own self-righteousness and be lost forever.
• Peter uses the word ‘grace’ 8 times in this letter. A study on the grace of God will do us well to broaden our understanding of the work of grace in the life of the believer.
• In 1 Peter alone we have multiplying grace (1 Peter 1:2), grace for salvation (1 Pet. 1:10), future grace (1 Pet. 1:13), common grace (1 Peter 3:7), enabling grace (1 Pet. 4:10), sustaining grace (1 Pet. 5:5), all-sufficient grace (1 Pet. 5:10), and reliable grace (1 Pet. 5:12).
• If it weren’t for every form and function of the grace of God at work in the believer’s life, we could be nothing and we could do nothing for the glory of God. We would be hapless, helpless, and hopeless in relation to God and eternity.
- Consider doing a broader study of the New Testament on the workings of grace in the believer’s life. How have you understood and thought about God’s grace in your life? In what ways does this help you to broaden your understanding? Can you see the ways of grace at work in your past and/or present? How might this change how you pray for grace?
- How have relationships with other believers strengthened you to stand firm in grace? How might you strengthen others around you to stand firm in grace?
- Where do you need to relinquish the god of self today and take that humble and faithful plunge into the depths of the riches of God’s grace to you that is found through faith in Jesus Christ?