Grow Deep - GRIT Edition - Week 4

Week 4: June 28 - July 4

Suffer Well! Persevere!

 

Memory Verse: “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8

I am heartbroken by all the unkindness in our world; divisions run deep. It’s not that this unkindness is new, but it is certainly amplified right now. At its core, whether we are considering conflicting views on the pandemic response, court rulings, or the expansive network of racial injustice, the debate as I see it is balanced on how well we love our neighbors. I recognize that someone reading this may even debate that summary. In the meantime, it is clear that many people are choosing the unkind path, and suffering is everywhere.

Suffering can feel isolating, even in our safe places. Our primal response is to guard our hearts and to look inward. Some voice discontent: others hunker down. Either action has potential to create stress on friends, family, and even people we have not met. The Apostle Peter had a good sense of this suffering amongst the earliest believers. He knew the passions and temptations of the world would always wage war on our souls, distracting and dividing us from each other and from God. In response, Peter provided clear, righteous direction to guide believers. Highlighted in our readings this week are some of the words and phrases Peter used to emphasize that guidance: love one another, be compassionate and humble, pay back [evil] with blessing, seek peace, and suffer for what is right.

Following Peter’s direction was not easy for early Christians and it is certainly not easy today. It starts with looking outward, past our own suffering, an exercise that is central to our faith. Jesus showed us the greatest example of suffering for what is right, to save all, by His crucifixion and resurrection. As we read Grow Deep this week, let us pray for opportunities to look past our own suffering, using God-given grit, to do what is right.

Sunday, June 28
Read: 1 Peter 2:11-12; 1 Peter 3:8-14
In the readings today, the overall theme of Peter’s message is to choose love, show compassion, and be humble even during times of suffering. He encourages us to live in such a positive way that people around us notice and turn to God.
Reflect: Think about this guidance in today’s context. What ways could you exhibit kindness, love, and humility at safe distances? How could you use your phone, social media account, or pen and paper to choose love today?

Monday, June 29
Read: 1 Peter 2:11-12
Peter encourages readers to effectively focus on being good to resist populations of those seeking out worldly temptations. For me, it summons images of David’s posture facing Goliath, standing against the odds with confidence and a lion’s-share of grit.
Reflect: How can your faith in God strengthen your resolve to do good? How does that confidence encourage you today?


Tuesday, June 30
Read: 1 Peter 3:8-9
Peter urges believers to be like-minded with attitudes and feelings towards achieving peace and prosperity; love one another, be compassionate and humble, pay back [evil] with a blessing. These are foundational building blocks for God’s church, yet we rationalize too often not needing to exhibit these qualities because of (fill in the blank).
Reflect: What is your “blank”? What is something you could choose to do that would alter that “blank” that would lead to the foundations of peace and prosperity?


Wednesday, July 1
Read: 1 Peter 3:10
Peter uses Psalms as a reference to readers. He uses the ancient text to connect readers to Israelite history and to guide readers towards truth. The message here is so clear, and it helps focus our behavior during times of need.
Reflect: How could you turn away from disinformation? How could your focus on God’s truth help steer your thoughts away from the world’s truth? (Often the two are in conflict.)


Thursday, July 2

Read: 1 Peter 3:11-12
Turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it. They are simple statements but clearly identified as behaviors favorable to God.
Reflect: Are you striving for peace (with all your heart)? Pray for insight and guidance.


Friday, July 3

Read: 1 Peter 3:13-14
In these verses, Peter tells his readers that they should consider themselves to be blessed if they must suffer for doing good.
Reflect: Have you ever experienced suffering, even when you were doing good? If so, how did you respond? How does Peter encourage you to respond? How can you encourage someone who has suffered for doing good?


Saturday, July 4

Read: 1 Peter 2:11-12; 1 Peter 3:8-14
This week, we studied Peter’s guidance to early Christians who are regionally scattered to embrace the grittiness of suffering for what is right. Even beyond that suffering though, there is greater attention given to love, humility, kindness, compassion, grace, and unity. It seems like an overwhelming list of attributes to achieve, yet all are encompassed by love.
Reflect: If we act out of love as our foundation, we abide with Christ. How could your actions be impacted if love is the basis for your actions? Praise God now for His love that never falters.