by Pastor Adekoya Akinbode
Peter has been exhorting the body of the believers scattered all over the Asian region from his office as an Apostle. In this last chapter of his first Epistle, Peter is writing as an elder, to the elders of/in the church. An elder, not just by the reason of age but maturity and wisdom, that being the established or the expected yardstick for appointing elders in the church. His position as an elder in the church is clearly indisputable as an eyewitness of the suffering of Christ, from the point of His arrest at Gethsemane till His crucifixion (there is the school of thought that Peter, though not specifically mentioned amongst those present at Golgotha, could have been amongst those recorded to be watching from afar). Besides, he was the one that saw Jesus in His glory soon to be unveiled as He was transfigured while they were together on the mountain.
He exhorts the leaders and elders of the church to serve with all willingness of heart and not with compulsion. He reminds us that there’s a reward for everything we both undergo and do faithfully for the sake of Christ, as there a crown of glory that fades not awaiting every faithful steward in the vineyard.
It is a great honour not just to belong to God but to as well be an overseer over God’s heritage/people. We are admonished to serve with the heart of a shepherd, as one that will give account to the Great Shepherd Himself when He returns.
The generality of the body of the believers is instructed to submit to higher authorities in the church, as expected. While love is to be at the centre of, and the motivation for all that we do, all that we do should as well be done with/in humility.
When we put on humility, we lead, not as lords; we follow not as trapped rebels or militants.
Humility is when, whether we give or receive, we count it as a privilege not a right. Having such a mindset, love kisses love amongst us. In other words, we live in love even when we do not expect anything in return. Yet, love is naturally being reciprocated with love amongst us. We are readily affectionate towards one another in all purity, as members of the same Body.
Also, whenever humility is found, a privilege it is to lead and it is not seen as a demeaning thing having to follow. We are ready and willing both to provide leadership where and when necessary, and as well to follow as occasion demands. Yet, not for material gains. We are just out to serve, not waiting to be served.
On the other hand, wherever pride is found, there’ll be direct resistance from God! We don’t rise with pride in us, (God Himself forbids it!) but with humility on us. To commit God to our rising therefore is to put on humility as an apron, ready but to serve as a leader, and to follow faithfully.
As we have the devil to resist, so also must we consciously and consistently resist pride, even the worries and anxieties that may result from not having what we think we deserve and being not yet where (the height or the position) for which we think we are due. Rather, whatever should cause us worries and anxieties should be dumped at the feet of He that has called us to Himself. Not waiting to see how He’ll handle the case, but with the faith that whatever we prayerfully dump at His feet is a settled case.
We are reminded that the devil is still on the loose — roaming to and fro, seeking whom to devour! He is not a thing to worry about, having the weapon of steadfastness in faith! To know that by merely resisting the devil he will flee is to be equipped against his wiles.
However, we resist the devil not through some rigorous religious activities but by being steadfast in the faith. By maintaining our stand with God, by maintaining our confession of faith in Christ’s finished work and what that means to us, with our persuasion in the infallibility, magnanimity and supremacy of our God in and over every situation, we always wear out the devil!
We resist with the firmest “No” to the devil and with even the simplest “Yes” to JESUS in every situation!
Whenever the devil roars, let’s not ever be scared to run away or get transfixed. But run to our Maker, our Master, our Shepherd Who’s near and cares! That’s why the place of prayer is non-negotiable in our walk of faith.
Many young believers often wonder why certain things are happening to them as though they’re alone in it. It is somewhat encouraging and peace-inducing to know that whatever we are going through per time is nothing strange from what fellow believers have gone through and some others are probably presently going through. Notwithstanding, through perseverance and steadfastness in faith, we always end up being better: strengthened the more; well-established, stabilised and settled. In other words, we are perfected in faith by the things we go though in our walk of faith, God Himself rewarding us all along.