July 31, 2023

           We are not certain how long Peter lived. People have speculated and guessed but there is no decisive answer. Some consensus seems to have settled around the belief that he died by crucifixion during the reign of Nero. But he certainly knew that life is relatively brief—especially as he observed believers being martyred for their faith in Jesus during the early days of the Christian Church in the first century.  He and other early believers began to witness firsthand just how costly discipleship can be! Even twenty centuries later, we have no guarantees for how long we will live. In his own words, he wrote about the brevity of life in 1 Peter 1:24-25, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.” His words are powerful and leave an indelible mark upon our hearts and minds as we read them. He quoted from the prophet Isaiah. And perhaps he had been encouraged by these words in his life. We see five truths that this wise fisherman gives us to remember.
            First, Peter identified something that “all people” share in common. He wrote to believers and unbelievers alike. We are all “like grass.” We live but a brief moment and then everything ends. Even a centenarian, who reaches a hundred or more years, is but a brief lifespan compared to the unending reach of eternity. It has been commonly said that life is what happens when we are making plans. He seems to want his readers to remember that we should put our faith on hold. We should not treat our walk with the Lord lightly. Every day is a blessed chance to serve Him in some way. Seize the chance. Do not waver or wane in your walk with Christ. If you find apathy or complacency seeping into your faith, deal with it quickly and immediately. Time gets away quickly and the days roll by fast.
            Second, Peter compared human glory to the “flowers of the field.” Flowers are lovely for a season, but they change as quickly as the seasons come and go. Few people are successful in keeping poinsettias alive in July.  Rarely do we find petunias growing in January. Likewise, the best human efforts last but a season. Human glory is stained by sin and failures. In life, we can choose to glorify God or glorify ourselves. A life that chooses to glorify God gives itself as an offering to God each day. Also, do we take glory in what God says and does or what we can achieve by ourselves? We have God to thank for everything that we possess and enjoy. He is the giver of all good gifts. May we lay up treasures and trophies in heaven with the Lord and live for the glory of Him who died and rose again for us.
            Third, Peter reminds us that God’s Word stands forever. We can trust His Word above all other things. The world is full of great books and important works of literature but only the Bible stands forever as truth and light. Human promises come and go. People can just as often break their word as they can keep it. But God’s Word is un-changing and true. It blesses those who read it and keep it. His Word is light in a dark world and hope in a coarse and often contentious world. In contrast to grass, flowers and people, God’s Word lasts and endures. It does not fade or fail. It does not wither or fragment.  It will not disappoint.  It speaks to all twelve months of a year and all seasons of life.
            Fourth, Peter said this Word was “preached to you.” We have the gospel. We possess the Word that God wants us to have. We can access the Bible anytime on almost any platform—written, digital, desktop or handheld. We do not struggle because we lack access to God’s Word. Accessibility to the Bible is not a problem—but the desire and motivation to read it can be where we come up short. Peter knew that the Lord was and is faithful and would always have a Word for His people. They would never thirst or starve for a lack of God’s Word.
            And finally, Peter encouraged us to believe in and to pursue the things that matter. We are not to waste time on trivial things or frivolous gains. Seek the Lord. Build a life of service that reaches others for his glory. Over the course of a lifetime, we will meet thousands of people. How often will we speak of the Lord to any of those people? How often will we bear witness to the gospel? How often will we engage others in conversations that have eternal consequences? In his own words, Peter helps us to see how few and brief are our days and how those days must be committed to Christ and the things that matter. Have a great Monday! Remember you can worship any time at YouTube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.

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