Living for Christ

October 2009 Daily Devotion Archive

October 1: Genuine Faith

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. - 1 Peter 1:6-8a

In a sense, it's easy to have faith in God when everything is going well. However, some people have a difficult time keeping their faith strong during the more difficult times. That is what Peter is writing about in this passage. God wants you to have the kind of strong faith that honors Him at all times, not a weak faith that fluctuates based on how you feel from day to day. Similar to the mistake a lot of people make when it comes to love, faith should never be based on feelings. It is vitally important to build up a strong faith in Jesus, committing to Him and trusting Him no matter what. Then when bad things do happen, hold strong to that faith and trust that He is still in control and He will always take care of you.



October 2: Be Holy

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." - 1 Peter 1:13-16

God is perfect holiness. While we can't be perfect, we should try to get as close to that point as we can in our daily lives. Peter knows exactly what it is that keeps us from that sometimes--giving in to the temptation to conform to "the former lusts." He follows that by an even stronger statement, writing that we were ignorant in that former life. But it's true, if you think about it--a typical non-Christian is ignorant of what it means to live a holy life and readily gives into lusts and desires because he or she doesn't know anything different. As Christians, we need to focus on God and not give in to those lusts of the flesh in order to set ourselves apart from the world which will ultimately help us be more effective in reaching people for Christ.



(October 3 was skipped because website was down for most of the day)



October 4: Pure Love, Part 1 of 2

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever." - 1 Peter 1:22-25a

If all Christians truly practiced the idea of pure, unconditional love, our churches would have significantly fewer problems and we would be much more effective in spreading God's Word. It is unfortunate that not all Christians behave in this way. What exactly is a pure love? I think 1 Corinthians 13 provides a good example of that. It is frequently quoted for couples who are married or dating, but it can also be used to describe the unconditional way in which Christians should love one another.



October 5: Pure Love, Part 2 of 2

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever." - 1 Peter 1:22-25a

As 1 Corinthians 13 tells us, pure love is longsuffering, kind, and hopeful, and it is not envious, rude, self-seeking, or provoked, among other things. It seeks no evil. As Paul writes in Romans 13:10, "Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." This is how God wants us to love one another as Christians. He doesn't expect us to always agree on things because He knows that is impossible. However, pure love persists through disagreements and always shines through to the other side.



October 6: Like A Newborn Baby

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. - 1 Peter 2:1-3

Peter gives us a very interesting picture here, which I think closely relates to the times where Jesus said that we need to come to Him as a little child would. A newborn baby is so pure, so innocent, and doesn't exhibit any of those evil traits that Peter writes about here. Yet as that baby grows older, along with the rest of us, some of those traits will most likely start to show themselves. But do they have to? Most of those things grow out of self-centered thinking, so we should try to center ourselves on God instead. Desire the purity of God's Word, as Peter writes; spend time in it daily and grow spiritually just as a newborn baby grows physically.



October 7: Be Different

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. - 1 Peter 2:11-12

A common argument people will make in trying to defend themselves against Christianity is that they see no difference between Christians and the rest of the world. Is that true? It shouldn't be, if we all lived the way we're supposed to, but unfortunately, many times it is very true. We need to abstain from those fleshly lusts that Paul talks about so much and that Peter talks about here. If we don't, how is the world going to see that we're different? As Christians, we need to stand apart from the world, exhibiting honorable conduct and showing love to others. That is by far the most effective way to win people for Christ.



October 8: Advice for Wives

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. - 1 Peter 3:1-2

These two verses tie into yesterday's passage but speak more directly to wives. It is an unfortunate reality that many wives are faithful Christians while their husbands are not. If you happen to find yourself in that situation (or this could also be applied if you have another close family member who is not a Christian), I would encourage you to follow Peter's advice. Ongoing arguing won't accomplish anything and may even serve to push a person even farther away from Christ. Similar to what I wrote about yesterday, the best way to win anybody to Christ is to exhibit good conduct and unconditional love. If you can do that consistently, the fact that there is something wonderfully different about being a Christian will be evident to those around you.



October 9: Inner and Outer Beauty

Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel--rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. - 1 Peter 3:3-4

This is one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible. Sadly, I feel it's also one that gets ignored by many people. Our society places an incredible amount of importance on physical appearance, which the Bible clearly states in multiple places is something that is absolutely not important at all. Honestly, I could probably write many paragraphs on how I feel about this matter, but instead of doing that I will just leave you with one simple question to ponder. If you are the type of person who spends a great deal of time working on your physical appearance each day, do you truly feel like that is pleasing to God, or do you feel Him telling you that you should be spending your time drawing more attention to Him and less attention to yourself?



October 10: Advice for Husbands

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. - 1 Peter 3:7

Some men like to quote the first few verses of this chapter that deal with wives and then stop before getting to this point. However, God intended for the two to work together. Along with wives being submissive to their husbands, husbands should submit back to their wives in the ways Peter describes here. Nowhere does Peter write that a wife must follow her husband's every demand in being submissive. As a wife submits, the husband should care for her, looking after her needs just as she looks after his. A husband also needs to be understanding, showing love and compassion and supporting his wife instead of being self-centered and sitting in front of the television or doing other things to tune her out. If both spouses submit to each other following Peter's guidelines and trust each other instead of being self-seeking, there will be much more harmony in a marriage.



October 11: Advice for All

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. - 1 Peter 3:8-9

This passage comes directly after Peter's words of advice for husbands and wives. Broadening his scope, Peter now writes about how all people should treat each other--with compassion and brotherly love while being tenderhearted and courteous. He also reinforces one of the ideas Jesus preached about: We should not repay evil for evil but instead show compassion and love to everyone, even someone who has wronged you. It isn't always easy, but as Peter tells us, you will be blessed for responding in that way. You could have a life-changing impact on the other person as well.



October 12: Blessed Suffering

And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." - 1 Peter 3:13-14

Most people wouldn't harm you if you do what is good, but some might--Peter knows this from personal experience, after being briefly imprisoned for his faith (Acts 12). Even so, he says, you are blessed. He reinforces the idea that Paul writes about quite a bit that it is well worth the cost if you are suffering for the sake of Christ. If you are able to stay positive and hold strong to your faith, others around you will see that and you could have an eternal impact on their lives. So do not be afraid or be troubled (Peter quotes Isaiah 8:12 there) but trust that God is always on your side, and if you do find yourself in a position where you are suffering for His name, remember that it is all for His greater glory, that more people might come to know Him.



October 13: Defending Your Faith, Part 1 of 2

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. - 1 Peter 3:15-17

Defending one's faith is a vitally important skill, but what is the best way to go about doing it? Some people will try to pull you into an intense argument, but such things rarely accomplish anything good. It's not likely you're going to change the other person's mind during a heated debate anyway. Peter says we should defend our faith with meekness. Does that mean we should appear to be weak in our faith? Absolutely not! But we will be most effective if we exhibit the same type of powerful meekness that Jesus demonstrated throughout His life here on earth.



October 14: Defending Your Faith, Part 2 of 2

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. - 1 Peter 3:15-17

Jesus showed us that being meek is not a bad thing. It simply means that He acted with gentleness and patience and wants us to do the same. Think about all the times in which the religious scholars of the day confronted Jesus about his teachings. Did He ever get into an intense argument with them? Instead of responding in that way, He always replied gently and wisely, and the results were powerful. Most of the time, those who were listening were so astonished at His response that they became speechless. If we defend our faith in the same way, we have a much better chance of being effective.



October 15: What Did Jesus Do?

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit. - 1 Peter 3:18

This is just a simple reminder of what Jesus did for us--something we all need to be reminded of so that we don't forget just how significant that act was. Christ was sinless, perfectly just, yet He died for all of us, the unjust. He did that because He loves us so much that He wanted to give us a way to come to God. Jesus was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit just as we can be when we give ourselves over to Him. Jesus gave everything for each one of us, and if we spent more time thinking about the price He paid and less time thinking about silly things of the world, I think we would all be willing to live our lives more in the way that He wants us to.



October 16: Pleasing People or Pleasing God?

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. - 1 Peter 4:1-2

This passage is a little more difficult to understand than some, but I think Peter is trying to make the point that if we are committed enough to Christ to be willing to suffer for Him and to do God's will, then most likely we have walked away from most of our past sinful ways. The last part of this passage leads to the question, do you live for other people or for God? When you are trying to make some kind of a decision, do you think about what God would want you to do or do you think about what would make other people happy? Too often, people try to please other people, even though that itself is futile because we're all different and it's impossible to make everybody happy. God is the only one we should be focused on trying to please.



October 17: Truly Living for Christ, Part 1 of 2

For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. - 1 Peter 4:3-4

These are certainly not among the more pleasant verses in the Bible but the speak a strong truth that many people need to hear. Peter speaks of the things that non-Christians do or that Christians did before they were saved. I wonder, though, how many Christians still participate in some of these things because they are unwilling to completely give themselves over to God? Perhaps you know someone like that or you yourself may fall into that category. There are two main ideas to consider. First, you cannot fully serve God if you continue to give in to these evil desires. Second, you are doing your Christian faith as a whole no favor by appearing to be just like the rest of the world.



October 18: Truly Living for Christ, Part 2 of 2

For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles--when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. - 1 Peter 4:3-4

People need to see a difference between Christians and non-believers. But what difference is there if you continue to act just as they do, or just as you did before you were saved? You are doing a disservice to the entire Christian faith if you act in such a way and you may even help push some people farther away from Jesus than they already are. Do you want to have to answer for that when you stand before Jesus someday? I know I wouldn't. Christians need to stand up and live Christ-like lives, apart from the rest of the world. If the secular world thinks you're strange for the way you live, as Peter writes about here, that probably means that you're doing something right.



October 19: Unconditional Love

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. - 1 Peter 4:8-9

I wish we (Christians as a whole) had a better understanding of this unconditional love that is mentioned several times in the New Testament letters, including in these verses by Peter. "Love will cover a multitude of sins" (which Peter is actually paraphrasing from proverbs 10:12). What does he mean by that? It can be interpreted in more than one way. If we show unconditional love to one another, we will automatically sin less often, because a lot of sin is caused by selfish interests. It may also refer to God's ultimate act of love: Jesus loves us so much that he died for us to cover all of our sins. This may sound like an idea from the '60s, but its truth can be found throughout the Bible: This world would be a much better place if we all showed more love to one another.



October 20: To God Be the Glory

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. - 1 Peter 4:10-11

Be careful that you use the gifts God has given you to bring glory to Him, not to yourself. God blessed you with whatever gifts you have for a reason and wants you to use them for His honor and glory. Take a close look at what Peter says in the middle of this passage: "...that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ." Ultimately it is all about God, and we should strive to bring glory to Him in everything that we do--the things we say and do, the ways in which we spend our time and money, just to name a few--we should try to bring glory to God in all those areas instead of thinking about ourselves. Which do you do?



October 21: Rejoice Over Trials

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. - 1 Peter 4:12-13

Have you ever noticed how some Christians seem to go through one hardship after another? Perhaps you have even experienced that yourself. Part of the reason is that Satan is very real and he loves to attack Christians in an attempt to pull them away from God. Sure, non-Christians face some hardships as well, but what good does it do him to attack someone who's already on his side? There is a very real battle going on everyday, and his goal is to pull as many people away from God as he can. But you don't have to let him win! Hold on to Jesus when things get tough and remember how much He suffered for you when He was here on this earth. Going through a trial while holding strong to your faith brings great glory to God!



October 22: How Bad is Being a Busybody?

If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. - 1 Peter 4:14-16

This passage continues yesterday's thoughts about suffering for Christ. I find it interesting that Peter includes being a "busybody in other people's matters" among the seemingly worse sins (at least from a human perspective) of murder, theft, or generally doing evil. Perhaps that means that is a more severe offense than we tend to believe. Indeed, being too concerned about other people's business, perhaps accompanied by the sin of gossiping about what you've heard, can lead to many serious consequences. Instead, let's be concerned with God and keep our focus on Him instead of worrying so much about what other people are doing.



October 23: Advice for Pastors and Church Leaders, Part 1 of 2

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. - 1 Peter 5:1-4

Today's Scripture passage speaks directly to pastors and other leaders in the church. It tells you what to do and what not to do (lead willingly instead of feeling compelled to, eagerly instead of for dishonest gain, and in general serve as good examples to those you are leading). Sadly there are some pastors who have been led astray and follow more of the ways of the world than the ways of the Lord. If you are a pastor or some other church leader, you are responsible for what you are teaching to those who follow you, both by words and by example.



October 24: Advice for Pastors and Church Leaders, Part 2 of 2

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. - 1 Peter 5:1-4

A pastor who only preaches about the love of God and not about the judging side of Him in order to attract more people does not do anyone any good. Why would that pastor have such a desire to be popular anyway? It makes no difference if people come to church every Sunday if they are not hearing the complete truth and don't realize that they need to be saved (see Romans 3:23). If you are a pastor or some other church leader, seek to preach and live only the absolute truth of the Bible. That's the only way to have an eternal impact on people that will ultimately be pleasing to God.



October 25: Getting Along With One Another

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." - 1 Peter 5:5

To me, this passage is about how we all need to get along well with each other by submitting to one another and being humble, not proud (the quote is taken from Proverbs 3:34). What does that mean exactly? I think it can be interpreted similarly to the passage in Peter that talks about wives being submissive to their husbands while husbands should care for their wives. Being submissive to one another doesn't mean that we just give in to whatever someone else wants, but instead it means that we should carry attitudes of cooperation, working together to spread God's Word. In a perfect world, if we all carried an attitude of submission to one another, we would be able to have a lot more cooperation and a lot less selfishness.



October 26: Cast Your Cares Upon God

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:6-7

God wants to take care of you. He wants you to trust Him enough to do exactly what verse 7 says--cast all your cares upon Him instead of trying to handle everything yourself. Are you struggling with something? The way things are going in the world right now, many people are. Never be too proud to ask for help. After all, God already knows what you need help with, so what does being too proud accomplish? He just wants you to have the faith to humble yourself before Him, ask Him for guidance and trust that He will always take care of you, because if you give him that opportunity, He will never fail you. The choice is yours: You can either try to handle things yourself and risk getting very worried and stressed out, or you can give it over to God. If you truly and completely do that, His peace will overtake you and you will know you have nothing to worry about.



October 27: Resisting the Devil

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. - 1 Peter 5:8-9

Here Peter paints a very vivid picture of the ongoing battle between good and evil in this world. The devil especially seeks out Christians because they are the ones who are against him. Would a lion devour its own child? Similarly, the devil has no need to devour those people who are already on his side, so he turns his focus toward Christians. We must try to resist him. It's not always easy, but we have at least one major advantage: God is on our side! When you feel weak in the flesh, tempted by Satan, pray to God that He will give you the strength you need. If you earnestly seek Him during times of temptation, I believe He will give you the strength you need to overcome it. He doesn't want you to succumb to temptation but to trust Him to help deliver you from it.



October 28: What Does Suffering Accomplish?

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. - 1 Peter 5:10-11

Is there some type of a struggle going on in your life right now? I believe that God uses those experiences to teach us something, and here Peter gives us a list of things that can be accomplished by suffering. Among other things he says that suffering can help perfect and strengthen us. Going through some kind of a trial helps God shape us more into who He wants us to be--that is, of course, as long as you stick close to Him during that trial instead of pulling away in anger. I don't know what you may be going through right now but I do know that God wants to teach you something through it, to help you grow as a person and to help bring you closer to Him. Don't try to push God away; instead let Him do the work He wants to accomplish in you. Indeed, as Romans 8:28 says, God does make all things work together for a greater good. We just have to trust Him at all times!



October 29: Corruption of the World

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. - 2 Peter 1:2-4

We need to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. That was written by Peter roughly 2,000 years ago but I would say it paints a very accurate picture of today's world as well. To me, lust simply means craving something that your flesh desires. If you give in to that lust, it will likely pull you away from God. We need to stand apart from the world by not giving in to these lusts, clearly showing non-believers that we are different. It may be difficult but we can do it with Jesus on our side! And once we do, that grace and peace that Peter mentions at the start of this passage will indeed be multiplied in us.



October 30: Christian Attributes

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. - 2 Peter 1:5-9

In this passage, Peter lays out a list of 8 Christian attributes that we should all aspire to attain. I am going to let his words speak for themselves and simply ask you to take a moment to consider which of those traits (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love) you possess and which ones you need to work on. Once you've done that, set a goal for yourself to try to improve in the areas which you feel need some improvement. The more that these traits describe your daily life, the closer your daily walk with God is likely to be.



October 31: Stay Away From Evil

Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time. Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. - Amos 5:13-15

This seemed like an appropriate passage for today. Satan can be very sneaky, and in order to make sure we don't get trapped by him, Christians need to avoid all kinds of evil and seek good instead. The prophet Amos tells us to do more than simply avoid evil, though--he tells us to hate it, just as God Himself does. Instead of merely accepting worldly evils that abound on this day in particular, even those that appear to be relatively innocent, let's stand up for good and for God. If you typically have a lot of trick-or-treaters come to your house, perhaps you could give them a Bible verse or an invitation to your church along with some candy. Be creative, but don't miss out on this opportunity to combat evil by sharing the Good News of Christ!