1 Peter 1:8-9
I started reading through this chapter and when I got to these two verses I didn’t even keep going. I knew it was what I should hear and what I wanted to write about today. It says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
I was sitting in the corridor at church listening to the message when I read this passage and it could not have been more perfect. It’s funny. I think it’s a fact we as Christians don’t really think about. We wake up and go about our daily lives (or should be, anyway) loving, honoring, praying to, and worshipping this God. A God we have never seen, but a God we love and trust in. Through that belief we receive an indescribable joy, from the God that we cannot see.
I’m not trying to knock it by any means. I think it’s fantastic. But if you look at it in another perspective I think it is rather scary too. Imagine if we weren’t fortunate enough to have our hope in Christ. What if there was something else unseen introduced to our lives that we latched on to before our faith. Some sort of sinful act or false religion. If it is so easy to join in on these other religions or idols or sinful natures then how much more are we at risk for losing what we already have. Reading this made me realize those two things.
One: How amazing/interesting we place our entire lives in something unseen.
Two: How lucky we are to have the mystery of Christ revealed to us rather than some less mysterious, worldly thing.
This book was specifically written so to build up those who are constantly beat down by those who reject the gospel they preach. This is specifically for Josh Page. David talks about how people mock him and make plans to either take his life or to put him to shame by using his own words against him. That they plan to twist his words so to say “Aha! Just What we wanted.” It actually says that in verse 25 which I found somewhat humorous. I think it’s written because it’s true that these people exist. There are always those out there who live to be cynical and live to promote their “rational thinking” as legitimate. And sometimes I can honestly say I’d like to to punch their lights out. But when I sit back and think, I really want the opposite. Those are in fact the people I desire salvation for the most. Because nothing would anger the devil more than to see such an advocate of the world to turn and become and follower of Jesus. And I just love to anger him. That sounds evil but whatever… It brings joy to Him. Anyway, at the end of the chapter David days “My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long.” So you know what… That’s what I’m going to do. I may not have read this passage until just now, at 1:00am. But Today at work I belted out Set A Fire Down in My Soul in the middle of the kitchen because I honestly wanted someone to have something to say to it. I think I’d like to sing his praises more in front of people. It gives me the most happiness.
There’s a few certain passages here that are just mind blowing. Paul’s witness to the world and his example as a Christian and a warrior for Christ is, perhaps, one of the greatest to ever exist.
Verses 15-18 are beautiful. “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” Christ is being proclaimed and so he rejoices.
It makes me think of a friend or family member, or anyone for that matter, who might pester a Christian about their faith. Although they may be doing it to mock or poke fun it still causes the gospel to be preached and fall upon their ears.
Next is the second half of verse 20-21 where Paul talks about Christ being honored through either his life or his death, and that he doesn’t really matter which one it is. However, he would love to die and go to be with the Lord but it is more important for him to remain here for the church.
Finally, my last point is verse 27, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…” Imagine that…your life should be worthy enough to speak the glory of the gospel. True, anyone can…but it’s…it’s nearly blasphemous. It’s like a Jew speaking well of Hitler if one who is not worthy attempts to proclaim the gospel.
I decided to post today about what I read yesterday because it was that glorious and exciting. I suppose one could say that the 139th Psalm is a somewhat famous one. I’d never really paid much attention to it until yesterday. The title of the section is ‘Search Me, O God and Know My Heart’.
The first few verses, I believe, are well known. “…You know when I sit down and when I rise up…”. Verse four says, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” God knew who I would be before I was born. He knew every single word I have or ever will utter before I was conceived. I wonder, how can someone believe that they can hide from the Lord and His wrath or judgment when there are words such as these to be read. Or better yet, why would you want to hide from or do something that would dishonor the One who sat there and carefully thought out every detail of your entire existence. From the thickness of your hair and the way your eyes might shine in the sunlight to what subjects interest you throughout your life, your favorite color, the family you are born into and so much more. Every detail of your life is preplanned by God. Even the idiotic things we do that throw us off the path He has for us, He knew about those too, even before the temptation was ever introduced to us.
When you really think and dwell on those facts…the reality, tenderness, and love that are found in those facts, it gives one a whole new appreciation for verse fourteen which says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are so preciously created. Handcrafted by the One who invented life itself. But don’t just apply this to yourself and see how fantastic you are. Consider these facts and insight as a pair of glasses through which you should view the world and everything and everyone you come in contact with whether they are good or bad, saved or not. Every human being has been specifically selected, thought out, and handcrafted by the Lord himself. Imagine how much more you will appreciate all that is around you once you wear those glasses.
I honestly think that the past two days I’ve read were specifically written for me and no one else. I feel that a lot actually. It’s because everything in the Word is so personable. It’s so… intimate despite who the reader is. I needed these readings. Today I read Psalm 34. In verse 18, it says “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit.” Nanny is going in this week. They’re leaving on Wednesday actually. I still can’t believe it’s all happening sometimes. I’m just dreading the moment I have to say goodbye. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that this is exactly what I needed. God is incredible. He’s like nothing that anyone can fathom because there’s no physical human being that could have such love and compassion for others. It’s times like these where I read about how he has me and how he is close to me that I feel most like I’m his child. That he’s my daddy. That no matter what the world throws at me, I am held together by him and he won’t ever let me go.
Psalms are always so interesting to me because they cover so many topics within one chapter. It’s the same with proverbs. Each chapter can hardly stay constrained to one topic or one aspect for the Christian life. So I find myself initially expecting to get one thing out of a passage and find myself having 5 things I need to focus on. Verse 14. “Turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it.” Doesn’t get much more direct than that. It’s not a request God has for the Christian. It’s a command. Turn. Seek. Pursue. All things that require motivation, dedication, and desire. I need more of that. I need that passion. I love that fire that burns when you’re in Christ mind, body, and soul. So that is what I need to work on today.