Have you heard this sentence before? “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Every investment commercial and website gives this predictable disclaimer. Investments involve risk. In January we were celebrating a great economy and strong workforce. COVID-19 struck and it was erased in hours.
Past performance is, however, indicative of future results. No achievement, building or investment is eternal. “Do not be surprised,” opens the homestretch of our journey. Peter tells us to expect suffering and tough tests. They are a certainty in uncertain times.
Peter is also an outrageous investor. He’s got one investment. It doesn’t come with a disclaimer. He’s invested everything in an eternity with Jesus. Now he’s investing in you.
The funny thing about financial investments is that they are just numbers and paper unless you buy in or sell out of them. Peter puts the stewardship of our lives in the same context. He reveals a hoax going on. The devil is working every angle to get people to sell out. He’s pitching investments that will drain accounts with suffering, fiery trials, anxious thoughts, shady deals, false glories, power grabs, self-preservation and quick exit strategies.
Peter knows this cruel predator will be out there till Jesus returns. He can’t stop him, but he exposes the lies and protects us with the joys of buying in and investing in eternity.
This week you’ll see God’s investment in you. Jesus is your hope for eternity. You have that investment backed by the full guarantee of the One who created all. You have this because someone invested in you. There are likely dozens of godly men and women who have invested their hope in you by caring, teaching, suffering and dying beside you with God’s true wealth. Peter strips away vanity and challenges Christians everywhere to start judging, not the world, but themselves. The judgement question: how are you investing in eternity? This is how Peter defends us against false investments.
Set aside at least five minutes for these daily exercises—a small investment in eternity. You have laid foundations for holy habits these six weeks. I pray you will continue to grow in them. And I pray you will be a spiritual leader who invests this in others. Share what you have read, discovered, and invested in through these daily disciplines. Repeat the journey with someone who needs a spiritual mentor. Resist the devil’s schemes. Invest in eternity where Jesus is your hope for years to come!
Read: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13
Reflect: Do not be surprised! Our enemy is relentless. What “trial” is testing, even tempting, you to a negative and disobedient spirit? How will this scripture be your defense? What is one way you can “invest” in this verse, depositing it into your thoughts when testing strikes? (Examples: memorize, keep a note card, have a visual or audio.)
Read: If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 1 Peter 4:14-16
Reflect: Examine your life and search for the many places, circumstances, worship experiences, sacred teachings, miracles and people where you see “the Spirit of glory” resting on you? How is God investing and revealing His glory in you today? How will you confidently and unashamed glorify God’s name today?
Read: For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4:17-19
Reflect: We are forgiven in Christ! Why in the midst of suffering is there a call for judgment to begin now in our homes and churches? What poor investments of our time, talent and treasure are stripped away by such judgement? What will be the outcome of God’s investment in you? How can suffering realign your investments in a faithful Creator and your witness to the world?
Read: So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:1-5
Reflect: Who are the spiritual leaders and shepherds in your life? Who looks up to you as a spiritual leader? What investment of love, mercy, or encouragement is Christ calling you at this time to offer in humble oversight by caring for someone who needs grace? Who is that person? How will you continue to invest in new believers and future generations?
Read: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11
Reflect: What issues is the devil using to drain your accounts right now? How does anxiety compound suffering? The devil tempts you to imagine many fears. Turn the tables, resist his false images, and visualize what it looks like to put your anxious thoughts on God’s shoulders. Find all the qualities of those divine shoulders in these verses? Where are the best investments for time and energies right now?
Read: By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. 1 Peter 5:12‑14
Reflect: How do these closing words offer you hope when you feel separated and lonely? How has reflecting on First Peter been an investment in hope for you? Identity one person you will invest in this weekend with a visit, call, or letter of encouragement and love in Christ. How will you continue the practice, investing in things eternal?