This is a continuation of study in the book of 1 Peter 4: 7-11. I find that these verses are ripe with teaching. With so much covered in so few words it is easier to unpack the scripture a little at a time. As before, I take the same verses and compare them in three different versions to aide in study.
1 Peter 4:7-11, Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
7 The time is near when all things will end. So keep your minds clear, and control yourselves. This will help you in your prayers. 8 Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. 9 Open your homes to each other and share your food without complaining. 10 God has shown you his grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gift he has given you in a way that will best serve each other. 11 If your gift is speaking, your words should be like words from God. If your gift is serving, you should serve with the strength that God gives. Then it is God who will be praised in everything through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:7-11, The Message (MSG)
7-11Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
1 Peter 4:7-11, New International Version (NIV)
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
From the NIV version, “The end of all things is near,” is a reminder, in my mind, of two things; 1.) Christ will come again, and 2.) that we are not guaranteed another day or another breath by anyone. I make my daily focus to live life to the fullest and enjoy it, but I am mindful that ‘tomorrow is promised to no one’ (a phrase my mom uses frequently). I don’t think you have to be a fire and brimstone follower to humbly respect the fact that Christ could come again at any moment or you could breath your last breath at any moment.
This verse reminds me of one of my favorite books, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” which states that one of the most important habits is to “Begin with the End in Mind”. Know that the end will come and live your days “alert” and “control yourself”.
Self control is a fruit of the spirit and an outcome of a life lived in pursuit of Christ.
Being alert makes me think of how I must always be on guard with my children. Watching them to ensure they are safe at home and out-and-about. We must always be on guard; there are evil influences out there and we must be on alert.
Luke talks about Christ’s coming as a surprise, one that can catch you off guard if you’re not praying constantly. It’s a tall order – to not be distracted by this world and to be continually asking the Holy Spirit to walk with you with every breath you take. I believe it takes a practiced discipline that we can not do in our own power but only by full submission to the will of God – this takes prayer.
Luke 21:34, The Message (MSG)
34-36“But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.”
Another important lesson in addition to being mindful of Christ and to continually pray, The Message says to, “take nothing for granted” and “love each other as if your life depended on it.” Wow – what an impactful verse. We live in a culture of an entitlement mentality, a “me” mentality. To have a spirit of gratefulness because you learn to take nothing for granted, and if you spend your energy and focus loving others as much or more than yourself… this one verse could change the world if every person implemented it.
Nothing has made me as aware of the importance of these teachings as my children. When I see their innocence and their dependance upon me and their daddy, I am in awe of this awesome responsibility to raise them to love and honor the Lord with all their hearts, souls and minds. I feel I am accountable at the end of my life for what they learned about God from me. This also means having to model being on-alert, self-controlled, praying continually, loving others, giving generously of my gifts, and praising God continually.
My Senior Pastor’s wife says she wants to “live a life with no regrets”. She is bold in her witness and dedicated to the salvation of many, especially her children – she and her husband have seven children. She inspires me to do the same.
Only God knows my numbered days, and I pray that He allows me a long life with my children. And if not long, at least long enough to teach them to walk in fellowship with Him. I want to love fully and deeply and embrace every moment as if it could be my last. These verses keep you on the edge of your seat – not wanting it to end and ever in suspense of the ending.
I pray you are blessed by these verses.
In His Grip,
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