1 Peter 1:13-2:3

Readings for this week February 3 – 7
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Day 1 – Ready to Play Our Part

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 Peter 1:13

I’m sure we are all aware of how easy it can be to fall back into the old patterns of the life we lived before we were rescued (redeemed, ransomed, reconciled) by God’s saving action on the cross. Without vigilance, without discipline, and certainly without prayer, we can so easily let our minds and hearts slacken, and more and more find ourselves falling into old ways of thinking and behaving. That is why Peter encourages his readers to stay focused, to maintain self-control and to be holy as God is holy. The old way of life has no hold on us any more. Back then, we didn’t know our purpose, and we were ignorant of what we had been made for. But we know now. We have been rescued and refined, and know our purpose in God’s world. So we need to live it out.

God’s plan – his long gestating plan, the one the prophets spoke of – has been fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. God’s purpose has been revealed, and in the process of redeeming us to play our part in his glorious plan, God has cleaned us up and polished us into such a state that we know our part in his plan, and are now in a position to play our role to the full. Through him, we are capable of the holiness that he calls for. We can undertake the new use that he has for us with confidence and assurance that he is with us in all we do.

Questions to Consider
What is our part in God’s plan? What role do you have, both generally, and more specific to you?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, as we seek to faithfully follow you, and play our part in the grand plan of restoration now underway, continue to guide us in your work and shape us in your image. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – The Call to Holiness

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 Peter 1:14-16

Holiness is what separates and distinguishes God from everything else (not just from sin). Only God is God and nothing but God is God. He is holy, He is God and there is no other God. He is the Creator and is not in any way to be mistaken for his creation or any element of creation. There is a definite distinction between God and everything that is not God – a distinction that is meant to be mirrored in our distinctiveness from the world around us because God has called us to be holy.

For us the call to holiness requires that we belong to God and nothing else. When objects or people are described as holy what is meant is that they belong exclusively to God; in the case of fallen, imperfect humanity being holy means being sufficiently committed to God so we can draw near to him without ourselves or the place where we engage in drawing near being damaged. Holiness is about being different from the world and pursuing different objectives and goals through different means and for different reasons than those around us. It means acknowledging God’s holiness and actively working to bring ourselves under his direction and in line with his purposes. As God is holy and the source of all holiness, to be holy as He is holy requires that we acknowledge God as holy and strive as much as we can – always in the guiding and enabling power of his Spirit – to live lives dedicated to him and his work for the world. We are his sacred people, dedicated to his service.

Questions to Consider
What is your understanding of what it means to be holy? Why is it important? How do you do this?

Prayer
Heavenly Lord, help me be holy in all I do and all I say. May I look to you for strength, guidance and power to be part of your holy community. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – Living Holy, Reverent Lives

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 Peter 1:17-21

Seeking only God; living holy lives by letting God’s holiness guide us in how we live; and now, living our lives in reverence. Peter is reminding his readers that they must be focused on God in a way that excludes the possibility of anything else having a greater pull on us or control over us than the one who loved us and gave himself for us. The ability to give ourselves exclusively to God is not one that we have developed ourselves; it is not something that we have accomplished or created under our own power. Indeed, it is impossible for us to do so. But through thankful obedience and surrender we can live lives of reverent fear in the power of the one who rescued us from our bondage, not through a transaction laced with gold and silver, but through the shedding of his blood.

Such a price given requires nothing less than grateful thankfulness and loving obedience. If this is what it cost to redeem us, how could we ever offer less than everything of ourselves and our lives to the God who would act so unselfishly for us? How could we allow anything in this world, in which we are travellers seeking our true home in the fullness of God’s promised kingdom, to claim a greater loyalty from us than that which we owe our saviour? The exclusivity that God calls for is uncompromising. We all struggle to live by God’s exclusive claims on us. Many things call for our attention in life, some worthy, others merely distracting. But only in the light of the crucified and resurrected Messiah will we see truly and clearly how to live and be empowered to do so.

Questions to Consider
What have you cut from your life because of God? What have you severed yourself from? Why?

Prayer
Almighty God, thank you the sacrifice you offered on my behalf, for my redemption. May I live in reverent thankfulness to you. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – The Sower and the Seed

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 Peter 1:22-25

Based on Peter’s use of scriptural quotations in this letter, it appears that he was a fan of the book of Isaiah, as he quotes from it in several places. In verses 24-25 of the current passage he quotes from Isaiah 40:6-8. Coupled with his use of the image of the seed in verse 23, we can see clearly in this letter, written by one of the original apostles and close companion of Jesus, the echo of the many instances in which Jesus himself told parables based around the image of the farmer sowing seed. And much like the seeds Jesus talked about, the seed Peter (and Isaiah) is referring to here produces something that lasts far longer than mere grass and flowers. This was an image that appealed to a lot of Israelites during the time of exile, when many of them were hoping that God would soon act to restore his people to the land: the image of God as the farmer sowing seed in his fields, seed that would flourish as God’s new, true people would spring up as the new crop waiting to be harvested.

The followers of Jesus are the new crop, the fruit of the Father’s seed sowing. Peter mixes in a second metaphor: that of a new born baby (new followers of Jesus) needing food and sustenance in order to grow (nourishment and training in order to grow into being a full member of God’s family). The seed, the word of God that makes this whole process possible, is the message of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God sent to reconcile us to God and bestow the gift of his spirit upon us so that all may be told of God’s magnificent, saving love.

Questions to Consider
What do the images of seed and growth mean to you? Why?

Prayer
Almighty God, may our lives be fruitful, so that others can experience the abundant love that you have for everyone, if they will only turn to you and receive it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5 – Like a New Born

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 Peter 2:1-3

Becoming a disciple of Jesus and following him is a bit like being a new born baby; such is one of the metaphors that Peter employs as he encourages his readers to shake off the ways and attitudes of their former way of life and embrace a life of growth and discipline. New born babies cannot do much for themselves at all (well, anything really). They need to learn how to feed, to grow, and how to take their place in the family. It is an apt metaphor as this is also what the new Christian needs to do as well. The new life in Christ comes to birth in us and just like the baby it needs to be nurtured and nourished and sustained, so that it can finally grow into full maturity. A new born baby (new followers of Jesus) needs food and sustenance in order to grow (nourishment and training in order to grow into being a full member of God’s family).

Of course, we need to realise there are good ways and bad ways of going about this, good ways and bad ways of relating to those around us, those who are part of our community, those who are the “adults” helping us grow and develop, and eventually those to whom we provide nourishment and sustenance. Yesterday we read verse 22 and saw what we need to eschew and leave behind; today verse 1 shows us the way we need to go, how we should act. A strong, living relationship with God is the key. Casting away all that hinders us and stunts our growth is necessary in order to develop the habits of life that will allow us to grow as we need to.

Questions to Consider
What do you think God is asking you to throw off and cast away? Why? How will you do this?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, may obedience grow in me as I follow you. May I not be slow to heed your words and hear your voice calling me deeper into you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)