Live with Your Heart in Heaven
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. — 1 Peter 5:5–10
Did God really say? Versions of this question confront and test God’s children in every generation. The fundamentals of this question were experienced in the Garden of Eden when Eve faced the deceitful serpent. She asked herself this question and used her own reason in accepting the challenge of the serpent, “Ye shall not surely die” if you eat the fruit from the middle tree (Gen. 3:4–6).
The heart begins to fall away from God when we act upon the prompting of our enemy, which appears to us through the world, the devil and our inherently sin-corrupt flesh. There is a timeless admonition in God’s kingdom to protect your little finger from the enemy because in no time it will take your hand, your arm and then your whole being. This warning has come because of our elders’ experiences. The brevity of life has brought front and center Jesus’ teaching that “if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matt. 5:30).
In moments of temptation, can you look above and beyond momentary thrill that can take away faith and see instead the blessing that is the hope of eternal life in heaven?
For Eternity, Not Just This Life
It is a natural part of growing up to become an independent and capable individual. This natural need to detach from our parents so we can forge and forage our own way becomes especially pronounced in adolescence. One can start to ask questions of why. One can start to challenge parents’ authority, civil authorities and even the authority of God’s Word.
In recent times people have used the acronym YOLO (you only live once) to justify certain actions and deeds. The fact that people think they only live once has for some become justification to do as pleases their imagination and desires. The deceitfulness of our flesh, the devil and the world corrodes fundamental morality and respect for the golden rule (Matt. 7:12) and elevates self-satisfaction to highest priority. This is a remarkable contrast to Jesus’ teaching that prioritizes serving God and neighbor (Matt. 22:34–40) rather than being served by your neighbor.
My Heritage Is Heaven
Our text is from a letter Peter wrote to churches in Asia comforting the Christians facing persecution. He wrote beautifully about the tried nature of the endeavor of faith and its glorious conclusion in heaven (1 Pet. 1:3–13). This letter has instructions to young and old alike. It especially calls the young to a place of submission. Dear child of God, don’t seek a negative connotation in the word submission. Think of it as an action in which you humbly seek counsel of your elders as have other generations before you. They learned – as you can – that trials teach patience, patience builds experience and experience provides hope (Rom. 5:1).
May you be found without the expectation that others will serve you, but rather desiring to serve your neighbor. May you first serve them with your source of hope and be ready proclaimers of the gospel to those who God extends a time of visitation. Your fruits of faith can call one to God’s kingdom. Your ability to show those fruits is not powered from within, but they are God-given, stemming from the assurance that your sins are pardoned in Jesus’ name and precious blood. May you and your friends in faith visit the elders, speak of the endeavor, attach your heart to the hope of heaven and battle the enemy by keeping faith and a clean conscience.