Yesterday Peter instructed us regarding our posture in relating to the world around us as “temporary residents and foreigners.” Peter emphasizes that Jesus Followers should “keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” Over the next few days, Peter will instruct the Jesus Follower on how this plays out in various relationships.
While Apprentices of Jesus should abstain from the sinful customs of a society, Peter invites us to participate with culture in a way that is redemptive. God has not called His people to be hermits, or to completely seclude ourselves from interacting with Society; on the contrary, we are called to live in honorable ways that “. . . let our good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise our heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16, NLT).
Peter goes on to talk about freedom, a regular theme throughout the New Testament. Jesus Followers are not free to do what we please, but to do what is right! Apprentices of Jesus are not without a master or owner:
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (NLT)
While using the S.O.A.P. method, it is often helpful to take a direct command and spend time meditating on any difficulty you feel in being able to carry out that command. For example:
Command – “Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the King.” 1 Peter 2:17
Difficulty – Whom do you have a hard time respecting that is in authority over you? Is there a supervisor or boss whom you have a hard time respecting? Maybe he or she is difficult to work with. How does God want you to participate with His Kingdom in the workplace? Is there a political figure towards whom you feel disdain or even hate? How does God want to turn your heart towards love that would enable you to be willing to pray for that person?
I have found that these points of friction and irritation in my soul often signal an invitation from the Holy Spirit to take note of the exact spots God wants to smooth out! Remember, our obedience is the first step towards the Holy Spirit transforming us into people that don’t just try, but can actually become people of love!
As a reminder, here are our steps for S.O.A.P.:
- Find a quiet place and read the SCRIPTURE of the day. Read it again. Read it slowly. Read it out loud!
- What OBSERVATIONS did you make? What does this passage teach you about God or yourself? Are there any calls to action? Do you have any questions?
- How will you make APPLICATION of this scripture and live your life differently today in light of what you just read? Be specific!
- Let it marinate. Take some time for PRAYER – thank God, confess any shortcomings, and ask to be empowered. Sit for a few moments and see if God has anything else for you.
Here is our passage for the day:
13 For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. 15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.1 Peter 2:13-17 (NLT)