Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Peter 4:7
“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” – 1 Peter 4:7
Peter is exhorting those he is writing to that they should realize the end of all things is near, that this world and its sinful ways will soon end. Jesus spoke many times regarding this world as they know it coming to an end, that their suffering will be coming to an end. The church during this time was under a two-fold attack. First there was Rome. If you did not worship Caesar as God, then you would be subject to punishment up to and including death. Rome hated the early church and wanted it done away with. A classic example of this is the death of the Apostle John’s disciple Polycarp. He was arrested for his Christian faith, and because of this taken into the arena. When they required him to denounce and reproach Christ, he said, “86 years have I served him, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” He refused to denounce Him, so they burned him alive.
The Jews also persecuted the Christians. They would bring them in to be tried and if they did not renounce Christ, they would find themselves punished. And as we see from several instances that happened to Paul, they worked with the Roman government, just as they did regarding the crucifixion of Christ.
This was the level of persecution the Christians endured during this time. And it grew greater as time went by. What Peter was telling the church was that these days would not last forever, that soon, this would end. And he encouraged them to remain strong throughout all this. He told them to remain sober, meaning serious and thoughtful. Also to remain calm and collected. Yes, these times will be difficult, but do not let it take away your serious expectations of what is coming. Instead of losing control over what they are seeing, they were encouraged them to spend time in prayer, going before God and lifting up their concerns to Him. They should abstain from anything of a sinful nature, so as to be ready for the time when all this is over.
And this should be our answer to this as well. Things today are getting very difficult. We need to be encouraged as well that the end is coming soon, and we must remain calm, cool and collected. We must not lose control of ourselves, but carefully remain in prayer with the one who will take care of us. We are seeing the church ridiculed and looked at in negative terms, being called racist, sexist and the remover of people’s rights. Just remain calm and do not give in to their desires, for God’s plan for us is right on time. He is with you and in you. No matter what they do, stand firm. Your reward is coming soon, in fact, it is on the way.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.