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3. Fearless in Christ: 1&2 Peter

When we trust in the care and control of God over our lives, we can live fearlessly

Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God are to entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

-1 Peter 4:19

In what ways does fear hold you back in life?

The letters of Peter, a key leader in the early church and originally one of Jesus’s disciples, are for Christians entangled in fear. Specifically, Peter is writing to believers trying to figure out how to live for Christ even when it involves fear of opposition, mistreatment, or disappointment. How does Peter counter the fear that keeps us from obeying God? He directs us to our safety in Christ.

Peter opens his letter with a general description of our security in Jesus:

“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

-1 Peter 1:3-5

In Christ, nothing and no one can touch your soul. You are being guarded by God himself, the Shepherd and Guardian of your soul (1 Peter 2:25), who will bring you through this life to an eternal and perfect existence with him. At Christ’s return, you will receive your inheritance and find yourself met with praise and commendation from your savior (1 Peter 1:7), satisfying the deepest longings of your soul. When we trust in the care and control of God over our lives, we can live fearlessly.

In the rest of his writing, Peter lays out how this security in Christ applies itself in specific circumstances. For example:

God calls husbands to love and honor their wives, and he calls wives to be subject to their husbands (1 Peter 3:1). Peter instructs wives specifically to let go of fear and adorn themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit. A gentle and quiet spirit is one that is at rest, content to be out of control because she trusts that God is. When Christ is her first place of security, a wife can let go of any anxiety propelling controlling behavior toward her husband.

What about persecution? When Christians fear hostility for their beliefs, where can they find the strength to be bold? Peter again reminds Believers of their security in Christ, saying, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you (1 Peter 4:14).” Believers can find courage by resting in the safety of God’s constant presence with them.

Peter also touches on the topic of humility. God calls us to submit to one another, elevating others above ourselves. But what if we want a position of power? What if we fear a low status, a lack of influence? Peter points us to this security in Christ: that Christ has the power to lift us up at the right time, and that he will care for all our needs, no matter our status (1 Peter 5:6-7).

And finally, Peter shows his reader how to find freedom from fear of spiritual evil and temptation. Stand firm in your faith, Peter says, because God himself will “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you,” (1 Peter 5:10). Believers have spiritual strength and protection in Christ, who will deliver and rebuild them. In his second letter, Peter elaborates on this subject, encouraging Christians to counter spiritual doubts by growing in their knowledge of Christ and abiding in him, the source of all wisdom and knowledge.

Do you feel constrained by fear? The message of 1 & 2 Peter urges you to take refuge in Christ! Jesus is keeping you and your future secure. He is a safe place of empathy and care. God has the last word, and he will set you on firm ground again.

RESPOND: Take a moment to bring any fears you might have to God. Ask him to give you a deeper sense of your security in him, that you might receive the courage to live faithfully.

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