by Pastor Mark Jordan
“This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:4b-5, NIV)
This week we are looking at ways to make this new year, and the rest of your eternal life, different. Yesterday we explored a new living hope, one that cannot be pilfered, polluted, or tarnished. Today we will take that a step further when we think about why we need ‘different.’
I don’t know about you, but I am a sports fan. I used to be a rabid sports fan where I allowed actions by athletes over which I had no control whatsoever to dictate my sense of joy. I resolved a number of years ago not to let that happen, but I slipped a little bit this past week. As a lifelong Georgia Bulldog fan, and an Atlanta Falcons fan for my entire adult life, I placed a lot of hope in a couple of high profile football games. Neither turned out the way I wanted them, and it affected my sense of joy and well-being. Seriously. What I know to be true is I am not alone in that. Others like me put a disproportionate amount of hope in the outcome of a couple football games for their sense of joy, and maybe even worse, self worth. This is why we need a different kind of hope…a living hope!
In Peter’s writing, he explains that our imperishable, unpollutable, and unfading inheritance is stored in heaven. THAT is where it cannot be pilfered, polluted, or tarnished. Thanks to the living hope you receive in the mercy of Jesus, you are to fix your eyes on Jesus that your heart and hope cannot be dashed by things of this world. Peter goes on to write that God’s power shields you while you live here so it does not affect your perspective up there. Does this mean you’ll never experience the things again that can hurt you? Nope, not at all. What it does mean, however, is your eternal life is secured in Jesus, who models this for all of us. Think about it…Jesus is human in heaven, still bearing the scars from the cross. His obedience to God and God’s plan raised Him from the dead, and He now lives forever, even in spite of the bad things that happened to Him. This is possible for you, too.
Are you going through a difficult time right now? God wants to redeem those awful things and reveal to you the mercy of Jesus through His obedience and perseverance. He wants to give you His strength and He proves once and for all that His grace is sufficient for you. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t bound to do battle while still on this earth, but what it does mean is you receive shielding against the things that can pilfer, pollute, or tarnish your hope. So, in the words of Captain James T. Kirk, “shields up.”
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your living hope that changes my why for living. Forgive me for the times I allow things of this world over which I have no control to dictate my hope and happiness. Help me to know that in Jesus I have a hope that cannot be taken from me, and shielding to protect my eternal life until I am with you. May His scars remind me of the great future that lies ahead, and help transform the way I see them today. I ask this in His holy name. Amen.