Achievements, attainments, and accomplishments are something we all love! In fact, most of us would agree that there is something incredibly exhilarating about the sweet taste of victory, the celebratory sound of triumph, and the incredible sight of success. However, the reality is that most goals come at a cost and are the result of sacrifice somewhere along the way.
Now it is very tempting and attractive for all of us to rush to conversations around optimism and benedictions around hope. However, it is impossible to have biblical conversations on the culmination of hope without first theologically discussing suffering, sacrifice, and surrender. Although these topics and subjects are ones that most Christians try to avoid, it is through Christian sacrifice that liberation, victory, and hope are fully realized.
To this end Dr. Emilie Townes, who serves as dean of Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School, speaks pointedly about the culmination of our Christian hope, liberation, and the role of the church. She once stated, “Liberation is about “being on a journey, being in a movement.” It’s the process of coming into an awareness that there is a better life for people to be had. Not just for me but for all of us. The church should be part of that. And where it is not, it is not the Church.”
Hence, the Christian life is filled with ups and downs! However, we believe as the “called out by Christ” that “all things ultimately work together for our good” (Romans 8:28). Inasmuch the fifth chapter of I Peter provides for us with a road map to achieve the promises of God in the face of demonic opposition and evil obstacles. In fact, the author Peter does not dance around the fact that the devil is real and wants to see us defeated and hopeless. Peter pens in verse 8 that the Satan is our “enemy,” “prowls around like a roaring lion,” and is “looking for someone to devour.”
However, in verses 5-10 Peter provides us with eight positive and concise instructions that we can live out to fully position ourselves to receive the promises of God. He states that we should: submit to the elders (v.5), exercise humility towards others (v.5), humble ourselves under God (v.6), cast all of our anxiety on Christ (v.7), be alert and of sober mind (v.8), resist the devil (v.9), stand firm in the faith (v.9), and suffer for a little while (v.10).
Furthermore, Peter gives us hope in verses 5-10 by sharing several promises of God which remind us that “it all will be worth it in the end.” In turn, learning about these godly promises helps to stay focused and hopeful. Hence, Peter states that God will fulfill the following promises: show favor to the humble (v.5), lift us up in due time (v.6), care for us (v.7), give us grace (v.10), call us to his eternal glory in Christ (v.10), restore us (v.10), and make us strong, firm, and steadfast (v.10). Therefore, you and I can maintain hope because God will not only fulfill these promises but “maintain all power” (v.11) FOREVER!
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