Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some insights on 1 Peter 5 and the importance of building relationships

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11

Recently, I was reading through the above passage where we are encouraged to cast our cares upon the Lord because he cares for us (v. 7). As I continued reading the next verse, I noted that casting our cares on the Lord also helps us be watchful against the enemy, who wants to devour us. But it was verse 9 that really struck me: The key to resisting the devil and to be firm in our faith is to KNOW that our brothers and sisters all around the world experience the same sufferings.

But how will we know if we don't share with one another? I am convinced that our enemy has deceived us into thinking we are suffering alone. The devil likes it that way, because it provides an opportunity for him to attack. But the truth is that God is with us and that others also suffer or have suffered similar trials. When I miscarried, I was so grateful for the people who opened up to me about their losses. I didn't have much to say to them for comfort. But I listened to them and shed some tears with them. Little did I know that healing would come to both of us from that.

But going back to verse 6, for us to share with others, we need to humble ourselves before God. It is easy to vent about our frustrations and feel sorry for ourselves, but it takes humility to really share with others so that God will truly transform us and give us victory over our trials.

How many times have you answered, "I'm fine", when a friend asks you how you are doing? I know I have done it many times myself. And I'm not really lying. I am typically happy to see people and naturally don't dwell on the hard things in life. So, it doesn't really cross my mind. And some people have shared with me that sometimes they don't share how they are feeling because they are tired of thinking about their suffering. That they don't want to feel like they are complaining.

On the other hand, how often do you go deeper than asking, "How are you?" to your friends? Or when they mention what is going on, you just keep it at that? What if you asked, "and how does that impact your walk with Christ?" Either you will know what to specifically pray for that person, or you will be encouraged by what God is doing in their lives. How many times have you gone to encourage someone only to be encouraged by them? But the blessing also is that that friend has the chance to proclaim God's goodness, which is mutually strengthening. One way or another, you will be building one another up. Just as God designed it to be.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Hebrews 10:24

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