A Guide for Uncertain Times
As we move ever closer to the culmination of global events, in a season of time referred to repeatedly in scripture as the Day of the Lord, we are thankfully not left alone to fend for ourselves! Rather, scripture equips us with the awareness that God will never leave us, even in difficult days.
The book of First Peter, written to Christians who were facing the reality of persecution, gives many important keys to living in a world that is uncertain in nature and even hostile to our faith.
Chapter 4, as a mini-guidebook for this present time, addresses practically what we should do in days when the circumstances around us become very intense:
7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 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…
There are many valuable insights that we can gain from this passage, but let us consider several main exhortations that are very timely for us today.
1. Be serious and watchful in your prayers
If there ever were a time to take our biblical call to prayer seriously, it is now! God has strategically placed us on this earth on assignment, to be vigilant and aware of what is happening on our watch. And as we watch, we must not only be aware of the circumstances around us but we must also watch to see what God is doing, and become an active part of His plan to bring the advancement of the Kingdom of God (expressed as love, peace, and joy) wherever we go.
2. Have fervent love for one another
Love is the most powerful force in the universe, because it is the heart of God in action. Just as He loves the world, He calls us to love the people around us with a sincere fervency. Elsewhere, scripture says we should “do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). How we love each other speaks volumes to the world, and how we love the world is how we effectively become John 3:16 in action – conduits of God’s love to those who are in desperate need of it.
3. Be hospitable
On the surface, it might seem a bit out of place to engage in hospitality when so much around us is shaking and there is heightened urgency in our lives. Shouldn’t we be out in the public square, fighting the good fight with campaigns and initiatives to implement widespread change? But alongside our outward efforts, this scripture shows us that one of the most important things we can do in the midst of great challenges is to show practical care for others in the form of hospitality.
Verse 9 of this passage adds that we should do this “without grumbling” – that as we find joy in serving others through daily provisions, compassion, and comfort, God will bring the increase to whatever we put our hands to. When much around us is uncertain, there is an even more pronounced need for intentional acts of kindness.
4. Use the gift you have received
In an hour when there are many battle fronts coming against our faith, we as a body of believers absolutely need each person’s gift to come forth for the advancement of the purposes of God. Verse 10 shows us that this demonstrates good stewardship of the grace of God in our lives.
If we don’t use the gifts we have been given, we squander the opportunity to bless others and to strengthen them in what God has called them to do. So use your gift!
5. Speak and minister with godly expectancy
So often we look at our lives and think, “How could my little actions make a difference?” But verse 11 reminds us that we are God’s ambassadors in the words that we speak and the lives that we live. One word from God through our mouths, or one small action inspired by Him, has the ability to entirely change a situation and bring a powerful release of the Kingdom of God.
As we take these simple exhortations to heart and implement them in our daily lives, the end result is that God will be glorified (verse 11), which is our utmost goal as believers. So as global events and massive shifts take place in the world, let us not forsake the practical commands that God has already given us for this hour. Now is the time to put our faith into action!