1 Peter 4:7-11 “7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen”
Last week I suggested a scenario for you to think about, which is what a lot of you did and thanks for the great feedback. The Lord often does many different things to shake us up in our thinking and look towards what is important on HIS agenda for us, not our own.
I received a few emails this week from various Christian ministries around the world with similar issues being addressed to shake up our thinking with “What IF” scenarios. This greatly encourages me to see that the Lord is also speaking to others about this aspect of “our walk with HIM” and the urgency of this to all.
Some scriptures that are settled within me are and will not be shaken from my life
Proverbs 9: 10 “The Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
These would seem diametrically opposed but indeed these are complimentary – you can’t have one without the other – but that is another bible study for later.
I mentioned last week about how the “Word of God” in Peters speaks to us about having “sound judgement” in both our personal and business lives. This is an important aspect that I deal daily with in our business life of being in the accommodation service industry, having sound judgement in regards to looking at the many enquires and requests we have to use our resort accommodation and all its facilities.
“There are those who are going to use the property to relax and enjoy as it is designed to do; and those who just want to use it “to party” and not use it for what is designed for.
“We desire Gods best for the property and for us”
So it is a complex issue at times, juggling requests and praying that the Lord would filter through those that HE wants to be here and that we may possibly be able to both witness to and serve them with God’s grace and love.
Many of us face daily challenges with our ability to use “Sound Judgement” it is indeed a real issue for us all, especially when we can get caught up in “our own egos” (Self & Sin) and let that get the better of us.
I came across a quote from a pastor who founded a Baptist Bible College; Dr. R.V. Clearwaters, he said, “If I knew the Lord was coming in 10 years and he wanted me in the ministry, I would still spend the necessary years studying in preparation for the ministry.” “Even if the Lord is coming tomorrow there is still no shortcut to sanctification”. So True, So True!
If we do not have a sound and disciplined outlook toward the return of Christ then we will cause other people to laugh at us and reject the truth claims of the Bible. People will not take us seriously. The second extreme that Peter says that we should avoid is what has been called “superficial nominalism” He says be sober. This means that that as Christians we avoid giving lip service to the Lord’s return. Do you have a real & genuine concern for the lost, to accomplish “Gods Will’ during your remaining time we have on earth, whether that is 1 day or 70 years.
In my experience there are many who are more concerned more about getting through the day and relaxing, rather than looking for opportunities to live and serve for Christ before a watching world. Peter says, “Be sober.” This means that we are to have “a clear and unclouded view of our responsibility as believers”. We have not just been put here without any real purpose; but we are to recognize that as Christians we have been given an eternal purpose in living.
We are not just on the “Big Wheel” at Docklands, waiting for it to stop so we can say, “Nice ride.” If that is life to you, you have sorely missed the higher life to which Christ has called you and the important responsibility that goes along with it. Don’t come to the end of your life having lived it for yourself and family without any thought of how you could impact those around you for Christ. Because you won’t be the only one highly disappointed at the outcome.
We are to be of sound judgment (unfazed by current events) and sober (serious in our purpose) so that we might give ourselves to pray in earnest for those around us to be saved and for the strength to carry out our part in this. Peter knew that if we were frenzied by the end-times paranoia that we also currently live in that we might not think clearly enough to pray.
On the opposite extreme if we were not sober and serious about the consequences of the Lord’s imminent return we might not be concerned enough to pray.
We need to recognize balance in the Christian life.
Peter is saying that we are neither to be doomsday sign carriers nor cosmic bungee jumpers. We are not to be doomsday sign carriers, these people who wear placards saying the world is ending today. Society writes those people off.
But neither at the other end of the spectrum are we to be cosmic bungee jumpers. Those people who flit from experience to experience looking for another spiritual thrill with no serious regard to the purpose of their lives. The one group is into extreme eschatological panic and therefore cannot pray while the other group is into extreme pleasure and is unwilling to pray for why should they waste their time with something so serious.
Peter is saying that there is time for action but no time to waste. The imminency Christ’s return calls us to live in light of His coming. And this means that we ought to give ourselves to serious prayer. We cannot understand how powerful prayer is until we give ourselves to it fully. By all means Peter says, “Pray!” If our attitude toward Christ’s return is superficial then we will not take prayer seriously in both our live and businesses.
In closing, I feel is from the Lord as well for each of you “it’s time for you to rise up and be who God called you to be – the world needs YOU”
Stay tuned for more cutting edge & personal grating from the Lord, next week – Part 3
Stephen for the Kingdom Builders Team