Devotional for Wednesday, April 1, 2020

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

This exhortation to follow Christ’s example of suffering comes in the context of Peter’s call for submission to authorities: towards the human institutions placed over us and servants towards their unjust masters (the suffering this verse is referring to). For Peter, the key to submission in these situations is the recognition of God as being the higher authority above all our earthly authorities, and the one who authorizes our pain and suffering. Granted, society’s laws have largely eliminated the servant-master relationship so the injustices found within will mostly be foriegn to us, but I would suggest that any relationship that strives to be close will inevitably carry an experience of injustice that we are called to be faithful in.

Drawing again from my marriage (I guess I think about it a lot), I have consistently found this to be true in the path towards growing in love for my wife. Recently, in the middle of a fight (that was mostly my fault and hurt her a lot), she asked me to get on my knees and apologize. Upon hearing this, my flesh reflexively lashed out to say how absurd this request was. Yes, I knew I was in the wrong, but she was simply not worthy or deserving enough to do such a thing. And perhaps this the point where Peter becomes helpful. When we look at people only (even our most loved ones), they will never in themselves be deserving of the things they require of us, so we are to look to God instead. After I was able to gather my thoughts, I came to a moment where I felt like God was asking me to kneel in my apology. And when the request came from him, I no longer found it ridiculous but something I actually wanted to do - he is worthy of all my obedience and can ask me to do anything... and there is nothing I wouldn’t do.

In the same section Peter says: For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. When hurt or inconvenienced by the people in our lives, do we only see how unworthy they are or by being mindful of God, see how worthy he is?

Posted by Andrew Kim on 4/1/2020


Thanks Andrew. That makes me think of Jesus as a boy, submitting to his earthly parents even though He was God in flesh and the one who created them! How humbling! Moreover, I've certainly lived a sinful life, unlike Jesus (2:22, the next verse), and don't deserve any sort of recognition in life. So who am I to think of myself above others, and yet it is a daily struggle. Properly orientating my mind around this truth takes more effort than I can muster up, and I need to ask God for help to do so every time - He must increase (in me), I must decrease.

Luke Ellison on 4/1/2020 at 11:58 AM

Thank you, Andrew! For me, whenever I find myself in these situations, the offense often blows up in my face and my natural tendency is to either distance myself or just let time pass for a false sense of healing. After I put up the walls, and the new norm is now operating at "one arm's distance", I find myself thinking I have peace and offer a lot of lip service saying that now I love that person or I'm "good" with them. Woe to me! The reality is that I am 'gratifying the flesh" by reaching a compromise with it rather than doing what Christ would do, to love by pressing in and enduring the pain that usually comes from it. How you touched on Peter writing about submission to authority really speaks to me and reminds me of 2 Timothy 2:3-5 and my time in the military. I was under authority higher than myself, I wore a different uniform, and I was alongside other men who were all about accomplishing the mission. I believe this is a small and imperfect example of how God calls us to look to Christ, who by all authority (that we are now under) calls us to love by following suit of His example! The prayer for me here is for the grace to be mindful of God, His authority over my life, and to follow suit Christ's footsteps - no more running away!

Andrew Han on 4/2/2020 at 12:10 AM