Lessons from 1 Peter: Self Care

How can we care for ourselves physically? emotionally? spiritually?

Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance,  but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct,  for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.”  And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence. – 1 Peter 1:13-17

  • Be mentally prepared.  The phrase that is translated here “get your minds ready for action,”  in the original text really was a phrase that meant “gird up the loins of your mind.”  The robes of those in biblical times were long, and could be tied up at the waist,  enabling the wearers to move in a more quick and agile way.   So what does it mean to gird up the loins of our minds? To quote the Believer’s Bible Commentary, “in times of persecution, there is always the tendency to become rattled and confused.  A girded mind is one that is strong, composed, cool, and ready for action.  It is unimpeded by the distraction of human fear or persecution.” (2254) 
  • Realize that your time here is temporary. This world isn’t our home.  If we focus on the grace that will be brought when Jesus is revealed, the future hope we have, if we hold onto the fact that our trials and troubles are merely temporary, while our rewards are eternal, we can feel less “stuck” in our circumstances, and more joyful due to the future we know that God has planned for us.  
  • Become holy in your conduct.  We will face trouble, but we can limit the trouble that we face of our own making.  The less turmoil we have of our own making, the more mentally prepared we can be for life and service.
  • Live in reverence to God.  If we give God the respect He deserves, keeping Him first and central in our lives, counting our blessings, it’s harder to get bogged down by everyday details and trials. 

If we do prepare ourselves mentally, focusing on our future rewards rather than our present struggles, and if we do live reverently, attempting to become more holy, more like God in everything we say and do, we will be able to have greater impact on those we are serving while in this world.

 And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation, if you have experienced the Lord’s kindness. – 1 Peter 2:2-3

  •  We should yearn to grow in our faith, through reading the word, our spiritual milk.  Newborns eat every couple of hours… they seem to be perpetually hungry. Eating, sleeping, then eating some more. We should have that almost insatiable desire to know more about God, to feast continually on the truth which is found in the word, to spend time with Him in prayer, and have an awareness of His presence throughout our days.  Through the word we learn about God and are equipped to live the Christian life and serve others.

Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, and maintain good conduct  among the non-Christians, so that thought they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears. – 1 Peter 2:11-12

  •  Stay away from temptations that make our lives harder.   In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask “lead us not into temptation”.  Not only should we not walk straight into temptation, but we should also choose not to try to skirt the edges of what we think we can get away with.  We should  stay far, far away from the  ungodly desires of this world. From greed, to power, position, selfishness, and fame, we are to stay away from the things that pull us away from God and into sin.   Our souls are stronger when they are rooted in and focused on God, rather than divided between fleshy desires and Godly pursuits.

Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether to a king as supreme  or to governors as those he commissions to punish wrongdoers and praise those who do good. For God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. Live as free people, not using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but as God’s slaves. Honor all people, love the family of believers,  fear God, honor the king. - 1 Peter 2:13-17

  • Be subject to every human institution.  Unless the local, state, federal, national, and international law and leaders are contradicting God’s law, we should be following  their lead, living lawfully, and respecting our government. “Look at that Christian breaking the law”, also isn’t really great testimony.
  • Live as free people… as God’s slaves. This seems to be a contradiction, but really, it is not.  We are to live as free people, free from the bondage of sin and death.  We are to accept God’s gift of Christ, His sacrifice for our sin.  We voluntarily give our lives over to follow God out of gratefulness for His sacrifice, and place ourselves into the service of God, grateful for our creation and salvation.   
  • Use our freedom responsibly.  - We know that Christ has died for our sins, once for all.  However, that is not an excuse to continue to sin or do evil.  If we truly view Christ as Lord, not just as friend or nice guy who saved us, we will follow his directions as He is King and central and in control of  our lives.  We should try to live in a way that pleases Him.  
  • Honor everyone, love those who fear God, fear God yourself, honor your earthly leaders.  We should respect and act respectfully towards everyone.  Disagreement, even godly or righteous disagreement, is no excuse for slander or sin against others.

For the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit. And he must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. – 1 Peter 3:10-11

  • Control our tongues. We are not to use our tongues for evil: to slander, lie,  or to deceive.
  • Turn from evil and do good.  Not only with our words, but with our actions, we are to do good.  Doing evil or harmful things to others brings shame and guilt into our lives.  Doing good things for others is pleasing to our Father in heaven, and helps us to have positive relationships, and leaves us free of shame and guilt.
  • Pursue Peace.  We are called not only to live peacefully, choosing not to cause unneeded conflict (see Rom 12:8), we are to be peacemakers (see Matt 5:9), doing our best to restore relationships and resolve conflict.

 But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken. But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. – 1 Peter 3:14-16

  •  Treat God as our King, fear God more than we fear man.  To quote the Believer’s Bible commentary, “All we do and say should be in His will, for His pleasure, and for His glory.  The lordship of Christ should dominate every area of our lives – our posessions, our occupation, our library, our marriage, our spare time- nothing should be excluded.” (2271) We may be tempted to give in to our fear of man – like Peter when he denied the Lord three times. (see Mark 14:66-72)   Instead, we should trust that God will deliver us.

So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires.- 1 Peter 4:1-2

  • Be willing to suffer in order to do the will of God, rather than giving in to the temptation of sin.   We should be more concerned about God’s opinion of us, then the negative reactions of others  if we choose not to sin. Many Christian practices and viewpoints are unpopular – and we may face ridicule or exclusion for living out what we believe.   It is better for us to face ridicule from man, rather than the natural consequences of our sin – shame, guilt, and broken relationships, not only with man, but God.

For the culmination of all things is near. So be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of prayer. -  1 Peter 4:7

  •  Make the most of prayer time. Be sober minded, alert and ready, self controlled and focused, so that you make the most of the time you spend with God in prayer. How easy it is to fall prey to letting our minds wander, or even drifting off to sleep, forgetting to mention prayer requests or failing to ask specifically for our needs.  Peter knew the importance of being alert firsthand, and had failed at it.  (see Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42)

Whoever speaks, let it be with God’s words. Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11

  •  Rely on God, rather than on ourselves.  Do we give advice out of God’s wisdom, or the worlds, or as if we were the experts?  Do we serve with the strength God gives us – and are we refilling ourselves with his truth to gain mental strength and wisdom?  Are we taking the time to enjoy God’s gift of rest in order to regain our physical strength?  

 And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.  Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. – 1 Peter 5:6-9

  •  Cast your cares upon God, be willing to admit that you  need His help.   His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.  (see Matthew 11:28-30)  How much weight do we try to carry on our own? We should not be anxious, but we should pray for the help that we need. (Philippians 4:6)

How should these truths change your life? (James 1:22)

God I Look to You, by Bethel Live

I love songs that are prayers. They help to give us words to pray with, that get stuck in our hearts and minds simply because they are set to melody.

This song is one of those songs that pops into my head when I’m having a rough day… the lyrics are fairly simple, but powerful.

“God I look to You, I won’t be overwhelmed, give me vision to see things like You do,
God I look to You, You’re where my help comes from – give me wisdom- You know just what to do.”

Most of the time when I sing this, I sing “I WILL be overwhelmed”… because sometimes I can feel overwhelmed.  I pray for God’s vision and wisdom to get through a rough night or rough situation… knowing that while I may be weak and weary, God is all knowing, all seeing, and all wise.  He’s got the solutions to my problems,  the extra patience or kindness that I may seem to be out of at that moment .  While I may be overwhelmed, God is not.  He is my strength and shield, my ever present help in times of trouble. He reigns over all.   Nothing is too big for me to handle, knowing that He is looking out for me, and I’m allowing myself to depend upon him.

Lessons from 1 Peter: Other Care

How should we view those that we minister to? How should we care for them? How does God view them?

So as your fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings and as one who shares in the glory that will be revealed, I urge the elders among you: Give a shepherd’s care to God’s flock among you, exercising oversights not merely as a duty but willingly under God’s direction, not for shameful profit but eagerly. And do not lord it over those entrusted to you, but be examples to the flock. Then when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that never fades away. – 1 Peter 5:1-4

We are to give a shepherd’s care to those that we minister to.  A shepherd watched over the flocks.  The shepherd kept the flocks from danger, made sure they were safe, and protected.  We are told to care for those we serve,  our sheep, not merely out of duty or because we are paid to, but willingly and eagerly.  

We are to be examples to those we minister to. We should care for those we serve, not as enforcers, expecting them to bow to us, lording our power over them.  We are to be examples of good conduct, serving in humility.

How should these truths change your life? (James 1:22)

Lessons from 1 Peter: Empowerment for Ministry

How are we empowered for ministry by God (Father, Son, and Spirit)?

Summary: The Father has chosen us as His, we are set apart through the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit, protected from eternal harm, through our faith in the death of Christ on the cross on our behalf. God has not only chosen us, He considers us priceless.  God watches over us, hears our prayers, gives us words to say, and strength to serve, through the Holy Spirit who is even now resting on us.

From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinklings with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure! – 1 Peter 1:1-2

  • The Father has chosen us as His. 
  • God gives us the Holy Spirit. Those who have been chosen by God,  and have chosen to accept the gift of the blood of Christ as paying the penalty for our sins, are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, set apart as God’s.  The Holy Spirit is in us and with us, our counselor, comforter, and guide.  The Holy Spirit helps us to obey God.

who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:5

  • God protects us from eternal harm, through our faith.  The acceptance  of Christ as our Savior protects us from eternal harm, and is a  reminder of the future promise of eternal life we have been given.

You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ. – 1 Peter 1:18

  • Christ has ransomed us through his death on the cross. He paid the penalty so that we might be free to live and serve him, and be given the gift of eternal life.

So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and priceless in God’s sight, – 1 Peter 2:4

  • God has not only chosen us, He considers us priceless.   It took a priceless sacrifice to ransom us, sacrifice more valuable than silver and gold, the blood of his own Son, Jesus Christ.  God would not sacrifice His priceless son, Jesus Christ, for something he considered worthless.  

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy. – 1 Peter 2:9-10

  • God has chosen us to serve Him. When God the Father chooses us as His people, He is also choosing us to represent Him an serve Him while we are here on this earth.  We are His people.  As royal priests, we are not only sons and daughters of the king, we are called to minister on His behalf, our lives being living sacrifices.  We are called to holy living.  As people of his own, we are called to tell the world of the one who chose us, who saved us, and who showed us mercy.

For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil. – 1 Peter 3:12

  • God watches over us, and hears our prayers.  For those who are doing their best to live in a way that is pleasing to God, he is watching over us.  He is listening to and hearing our prayers.

Whoever speaks, let it be with God’s words.  Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.- 1 Peter 4:11

  • God gives us words to say, both through giving us the bible and his words therein and allowing us to be empowered by the Holy Spirit in us.
  • God gives us strength.   If we try to make something happen in our own strength, we can often become overwhelmed. We cannot be anyone’s personal Savior, or put pressure upon ourselves to make something happen. There’s only one Savior, and His name is Jesus Christ.  When we humble ourselves and acknowledge God as our strength and empowerer, and follow His lead,  we are much more likely to be successful in our endeavors, and God is truly given the glory for our accomplishments. 

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, who is the Spirit of God, rests on you.- 1 Peter 4:14

  • The Holy Spirit is with us.   The Holy Spirit empowers us as comforter and guide.

How should these truths change your life? (James 1:22)

Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets

In addition to being a youth counselor, I’m also a worship leader at my local church. I will intersperse some of my posts about suffering and self care with contemporary worship music that I find lyrically encouraging, that is real about suffering and trials, and/or encourages us to serve others.  

What I really appreciate about this song, is the challenge to each of us, “Was I love, when no one else would show up, was I Jesus to the least of us? Was my worship more than just a song? I want to live like that.”  Our worship should be more than a song that we sing on a Sunday morning, our worship is pouring out our lives to a God who is worthy, and following the great commandment – to love not only God, but also our neighbors – including the widow, orphan, and homeless- as we love ourselves. That should be our legacy, the love we had for others, and our impact on their lives.

Full Song Lyrics