Once again the Lord reminded me of His perfect plan in my life and of how great He truly is. My time with Him this morning led me to 1 Peter 5:10-11.
"10) After you have suffered for a little while,the God of all grace,who called you to His eternal glory in Christ,will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.11) To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen."1 Peter 5:10-11, NASB
Peter, the writer of this letter which was addressed to churches located within the Roman Empire, is completing a section of Scriptures dealing with submission to God and resistance of the enemy when we pick up in verses 10 and 11. In this section of Scripture he encourages believers to submit to the spiritual leaders God has placed in their lives and to, literally, put on an attitude of servitude and humility.
The apostle Peter also commands them to be watchful and always mindful of the goings on around them, because the enemy, Satan, is roaming around the earth just looking for someone to devour (literally someone he can drink down, swallow, destroy). Peter further commands believers to resist, to stand up against the schemes, of the enemy. The only way for one to stand against the enemy is to be grounded in and clinging tightly to the Word of God.
Often times I've come across those who believe that the Christian life is a "walk in the park"; they believe that once they have Jesus then everything else will fall into place- no more cares, no more worries- everything will be hunky-dory. Granted to benefits of walking with Jesus FAR out-weigh the results of not doing so, but Scripture clearly tells us that suffering is inevitable; trials and tribulations are on the horizon and we must prepare ourselves beforehand.
My golden nugget of truth today is contained within verses 10 and 11. Again, Peter leading up to these verses reminds the believer that we are all going to suffer, but that suffering is meant for something, it is not useless. He says, "after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ"... Let's stop here for a moment.
"A little while"- This phrase in the original language is the word oligos. It means of uncertain affinity; puny (in extent, degree, number, duration or value); brief [-ly], few, (a) little, a season, short, small (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). Friends, this tells me the sufferings I experience right now are but for a season. This season of suffering I've just gone through is nothing compared to the totality of time I will spend with my Jesus. If trials and tribulations are going to bring me closer to Him, then bring it on. I can endure times of testing with Jesus by my side.
"the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ"- God, the author and bestower of grace, has called the believer to Himself through the work of Christ Jesus on the cross. He has bestowed upon each of His children an immeasurable blessing of grace and that blessing of grace results in the believer's eternal salvation. Friends, my salvation, your salvation, were brought about only through the glory of Christ upon the cross of Calvary. Do you get that? Do you get the fact that the broken, beaten, unrecognizable body of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross was a moment of glory? It was this moment of glory that brought about eternal, ever-lasting life for you and me.
You and I can press on through our sufferings, not only because they are but for a little while, but also because of the work God is going to do in our lives through them. The Author and Bestower of all grace is going to "perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you" during those times of trials and tribulations. All four of these words point to strength, confidence, and steadfastness. Through our trials, God is working in us to produce a character of strength. It is a character that stands firmly grounded upon the Word of God. It is a character whose faith will not be shaken when the storms of uncertainty and challenge blow through. It is a character whose strength and resolve are found in the Lord.
It is of utter importance that we take note of the fact that Scripture does not say your husband, or best friend, pastor or mentor, will develop this character of strength in you. It is God and God alone who will plant, cultivate, and produce this Godly character of strength in us.
To the God who develops in me a Godly character of strength; who has called me to Himself through the glorious work of Christ on the cross; who restores my soul, molding me daily into the likeness of His precious Son; who firmly roots me in His ways, directing my path; who has blessed me with spiritual knowledge and insight; and who has bestowed upon me blessing after blessing, to You, Almighty Maker of heaven and earth be all glory, and power, and dominion. I praise You this day. Amen.