by Scarlett Stough
The year 2021 has been a year of trial and grief for many people all over the world. To be told we can “greatly rejoice” (1 Peter 1:6) when we are suffering can be a “hard sell” as we try to cope with disease, isolation, and financial stress--not to even mention the turmoil of political and social strife.
Our lasting joy does not come from the temporary pleasant times in our lives. We can rejoice because our inheritance is being “shielded by God's power” (1 Peter 1:3-6).
The troubles we are suffering, through faith in God and His faithfulness to us proves our faith to be genuine:
These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:7-9
What are we to do with this precious gift of faith? We are exhorted to be prepared mentally for action, to be self-controlled, to be holy, and to not allow ourselves to be conformed to the thinking of an unbelieving world (1 Peter 1:13-16).
How can we resist those pressures to conform to what a world without God is doing? The simplest answer is the fact that in Christ we have been given a new birth and a living hope which enables us to consider the welfare of others at least as much as our own which is love (1 Peter 1:22-23; 2:2-5).
Whatever choices and decisions we are faced with making, two questions help us make better choices—will this path honor God and do no harm? Will it help family, friends, and neighbors?
The way to the blessings God gives is the way of humility, mercy, peacemaking and full commitment to loving God (Matthew 5:1-12).
By living out our faith in obedience through God's power, we can experience
and share the joy God gives.