Highlights In Today's Reading:
A believer's lifestyle is a testimony to nonbelievers (3:1-5), so treat each other as joint heirs (3:7), and live a blameless lifestyle before the world (3:8-22). Be good stewards of the grace of God (4:1-11). Why rejoice in suffering? Because glory awaits us (4:12-19). Church leaders stay alert and feed and strengthen the flock (5:1-11).
Faithful Christians will face continual temptations and many a fiery trial from Satan which will tempt us to self-sufficiency, self-will, self-confidence, self-praise, and self-righteousness.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try (test) you, as though some strange thing happened unto you (4:12). If you are not being tested, take a look at your walk with the Lord.
As we prayerfully read the Word of God, it acts as a mirror to expose our self-life. God allows our association with others to expose our lack of humility. Lack of love, all indifference, all sharp and hasty remarks — so often excused under the guise of just being honest or "That's just the way I am" — need to be confessed for what they are, self-exalting pride.
The remedy to the self-life is the cross of Christ (Gal. 2:20). The indwelling Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to be free from pride and take on an attitude of true humility.
As we humble ourselves, God will exalt us in due time (I Pet. 5:6; Luke 14:11). But the exaltation God promises is not some popular prize that would feed one's ego; it is the joy and satisfaction of becoming more like Christ. It is truly a privilege just to be His servant and give all praise to Him.
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you. . . . But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer (I Pet. 4:1-4,7).
God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world (Gal. 6:14).
Thought for Today:
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Ps. 139:23-24).
For I Pet. 3:10-12: See Ps. 34:12-16. I Pet. 5:5: See Prov. 3:34.
3:11 eschew =turn away from; ensue =earnestly pursue; 3:20 were saved by water =were saved from the water by entering the ark (that illustrates Christ); 4:15 busybody =one who interferes in other people's affairs that do not concern him.
Pray for International Broadcasts in honor of Dr. John A. Hash • Staff: Gina Lesnefsky • Government Official: Rep. Bill Posey (FL) • Country: Papua New Guinea (5 million) in the southwestern Pacific • Major languages: 715 indigenous languages • Religious freedom • 64% Protestant; 33% Roman Catholic; 2% ancestor worship, belief in spirits, and witchcraft • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that God will teach you His ways and transform your life by His Word (Is. 2:3).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 18:35