Welcome back to week 2 of our Fall Online Bible Study, Putting on a Gentle & Quiet Spirit by Elizabeth George. I hope you had a chance to complete your first assignment. I asked you to work through Lessons 1-4 (pp. 13-33).
Each week we will follow the same format:
- Pray (Ask God to open your heart and mind so you can understand His Word)
- Read (Re-familiarize yourself with the passage from the previous week)
- Listen (Receive some thoughts and further insights about the lessons studied)
- Respond (Apply spiritual truth to your life)
- Thank God for revealing Truth to you
Precious Father, I desire to know and understand Your Word. Give me spiritual eyes to see Your Truth as I study this section of Scriptures. Give me wisdom to discern the principles You wish to apply to my life and then change me for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
In lessons 1-4 Elizabeth draws out four main themes:
- Grace & Peace (1 Peter 1:1-2)
- Our Inheritance & Genuine Faith Tested through Trials and Sufferings (1 Peter 1:3-9)
- Redemption through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:10-12)
- The Responsibility of Being Holy (1 Peter 1:13-16)
Thought to Ponder … Whose perspective is more important, yours or God’s?
I see such a marvelous progression of God’s love and provision for His children in these themes. It confirms that God has a wonderful plan for us, and that His plan is full of purpose. We simply need to choose the right perspective and lean in to His amazing grace!
We looked at lesson 1 a bit last week when we were together, but I want to remind you of those two powerful little words, grace and peace. Remember what Elizabeth said last week?
Grace – If you are a believer, you have God’s favor! For your situation … You have whatever it is going to take for you to endure, cope, have the victory, and be triumphant in it.
Peace – You have God’s rest in your suffering.
So Peter prays that grace and peace will be multiplied in the lives of those to whom he was writing and then he segues right into a new (but connected) thought. He begins talking about the hope that we have regarding the way things are going to turn out. In other words, he looks to the end, the finish line, the finale. He talks about our incorruptible inheritance. On earth, things spoil, they are imperfect, and they fade. Meat spoils, people and things we put our hope and trust in eventually show us they are flawed, and even that favorite outfit, when washed time and time again, begins to fade. But that is NOT what our glorious inheritance is like at all. It is completely perfect and is reserved believers.
Did you catch the wording of verse 5? It says that we (you) are being “kept by the power of God.” How comforting! That gives us three “power tools” … GRACE, PEACE, and POWER. And we need all three of these gifts from our Lord Jesus because in verses 6-7 Peter reminds us that though we can rejoice and look forward with great anticipation to our promised and perfect inheritance, we will face trials and sufferings in the here and now. This is much like what my children do at a meal when they know there is going to be a really great dessert at the end. They look forward to what is coming even though they must suffer through their vegetables first!
Verse 7 tells us something really wonderful about our Lord. He purposes our trials and sufferings to make our faith genuine. As you and I journey through life with a right perspective, looking toward our glorious inheritance, we can find joy in knowing and believing Jesus (verse 8).
Here’s the way Elizabeth relates this to Putting on a Gentle and Quiet Spirit on p. 23:
So when trials come our way, we can, by God’s grace, put on God’s gentle and quiet spirit, refusing to create disturbances and bearing with tranquility the disturbances caused by others.
It doesn’t stop there though! Next we get to gaze at the mystery of the Gospel in verses 10-12. The redemption of our Lord Jesus that the prophets searched for and spoke about yet did not see for themselves was revealed by the Holy Spirit to us! Have you thanked God recently for enlightening your heart and mind to understand the mystery of the Gospel? You have hope in the midst of your sufferings and one way you can share your hope is by allowing God to use you to make connections with others who are suffering. You can use your trial as a platform for ministry! And … it just might be the way God leads them to His Son, Jesus! Again, it’s all about perspective!
In verses 13-16 we see a “therefore.” Peter tells us all of these things about trials and sufferings and joy and perspective and then he reminds us of what we are called to do and be. He tells us that in order to put on a gentle and quiet spirit and do all the things we’ve discussed in verses 1-12, we must:
- Guard our mind
- Be sober
- Rest your hope fully upon God’s grace
- Be obedient
- Be holy
We are called to a life of Christ-likeness or holiness. Why? Because what is on the inside of us will come out! And if we desire a quiet and gentle spirit, we must prepare our mind, body and soul for it so that when it is tested by fire, it may be found to the praise, honor and glory of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7)
Respond: (Please post your comments to these questions below.)
- How have you seen God’s grace and peace manifest itself in you this week?
- What is your perspective when suffering through a trial?
- Do you pray regularly for unbelievers to be enlightened by the Gospel? Do you live your life in such a way that without a word others see the Gospel in you?
- How are you guarding your mind for obedience to Christ? Are you cultivating a life of holiness, set apart for Him?
Take time to pray and thank the Lord for the truth of His Word. Ask Him to help you apply these principles to your life.
Lessons 5, 6, & 7 (pp.34-49)
Have a wonderful week!