PANNING FOR GOLD
Digging into 1 Peter – A Key Word
What does this title call to your mind (pun intended)? A referee calling a game off because of lightning? A candidate calling an election because of a decisive margin of votes? A letter calling you to jury duty? Your coach calling you a good sport?
Just for fun, look up the word called on The Free Online Dictionary and you will find a kazillion other possibilities.
You will also find several meanings for called in the letter of 1 Peter. That is, the apostle states that God has called us to be and do various things.
The reason I mention this is because–as I was meditating on the verses containing the word called–I got excited. I thought maybe you would too.
So here are the four verses and my comments:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).
A purely natural response might be: “I’m not so sure about this. I have a few bad habits I really would like to keep. Besides, the full light of God shining on me–I’m need ready for everything in me to show up clearly.”
The response of a believer who understands the power of a supernatural God in their life: “God has invited me to leave the closed-in world of night and enjoy the wide horizons of day. He has invited me out of the guesswork of darkness into the clarity and certainty of the light. He has invited me out of guilt to be clean and carefree.”
If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21 NIV).
A purely natural response might be: “I don’t even want to think about this. Fortunately, I live in the United States, so I don’t have to.”
The response of a believer who understands the power of a supernatural God in their life: “God is calling me to make a difference in this world. To live a life worth living. What a privilege! Yes, I’ll make waves by standing out like this, but–I’ll know I did the right thing. I’ll enjoy self-esteem and a clear conscience.”
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV).
A purely natural response might be: “This sounds ‘way too generous and kind for me. I can meet people half-way if they are trying to get along with me–but this is too much.”
The response of a believer who understands the power of a supernatural God in their life: “God is calling me to initiate an aggressive brand of friendliness toward others. To see the good in people I’ve never appreciated before. To care about people who aren’t really related to me. If I do this, I’ll have deep relationships. I’ll belong. I’ll be at peace with everyone (whether or not they are at peace with me). The Lord promises I’ll be glad (be blessed) if I go out of my way to be good to others like this.”
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10 NIV).
A purely natural response might be: “What does this mean? I believe I’ll be in God’s eternal glory when I go to heaven, but what does this have to do with suffering and being restored?”
The response of a believer who understands the power of a supernatural God in their life: ” Jesus was amazing (glorious) when he went to the cross. He kept his composure. He encouraged others. Then–he had the glorious last word by rising from death. The apostle Paul said, ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ Well, not any more. When I turned my life over to Jesus, he reinstated me into the gloriousness of God–into his inner power of love that radiates in glorious attitudes and actions–even in hard times.”
The good deeds you naturally tend to do, the ways you can figure out to straighten out bad situations–you don’t need God to call you to do those. You can do them on your own (pretty much). But God is calling you to so much more. Things you can only do because he says you can. Because he will make it possible with his own goodness and ability in you.