Friday, July 24
Scripture: Isaiah 43-45, 1 Peter 4
1 Peter 4:7–10 The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 8 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
When I coached my boys in baseball, I would often yell, “Ready position.” I wanted them to be in a physical position that would make them ready to make the play. What is “ready position” for a believer?
Peter believed that the end of the world was coming soon. Was he wrong? No—for two reasons. First, Jesus taught His disciples that He was coming back and no one knows when, so you need to be ready at all times. Peter was living “in ready position.” Second, the end is near for every individual at any time. Life is fragile, and our lives can end unexpectedly and we’ll stand before God, so you need to be ready at all times.
So how can you be ready? Peter gives four things that help us live “in ready position.”
1. Be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Pray first. If I may stand before God at any time, I want to make sure I’m standing before a friend, someone I know. So pray. Talk with God and get to know Him. Don’t treat this casually!
2. Continue to show deep love for each other. Peter says “most of all…”. Of all the things we do, this may be most important: love each other deeply. Stretch yourself out in love. And Peter reminds us that love covers a multitude of sins. Love stretches forgiveness over another’s faults.
3. Cheerfully show hospitality. Share your home with those who need a meal or place to stay. Hospitality was especially important in the early church when the gospel was being taken by itinerant ministers like Paul and Peter who relied upon the hospitality of the believers. It’s still important as a way to care for the poor, love the stranger and fellow-believers.
4. Use your gifts to serve one another. God has gifted every one of us and wants us to use those gifts to serve others. It’s “every member ministry”—every part of the body of Christ has a ministry, a role to play in God’s redemptive work. Play your part! Use your gift!
Prayer: Lord, I love the practical nature of Peter’s advice. Help us live in ready position by praying, loving, showing hospitality and using our gifts to serve others.