1 Peter 3
:1 Wives are to be submissive in the same way as mentioned in chapter 2 (the idea of no retaliation, like what Jesus demonstrated) to their husbands so they may win them over without words. Notice a pattern here?
:2 Purity and reverence are important to God. Both require a mindset and conscious choice before they can be acted out. notice another pattern? 🙂
:3 God’s idea of true beauty is inner beauty, not external beauty. This inner beauty brings glory to God by focusing attention on God rather than the external beauty which tends to merely draw attention to the object of beauty itself. I am of great worth to God. I should not feel a pressure to measure up to the physical beauty of women around me. Instead of getting caught up in trying to make myself more physically attractive, and subtly shifting my focus from God to myself, I need to be focusing on God and letting Him give me a spirit of gentleness which He says is valuable.
:6 The idea of “fear” is key here. “Giving way to fear” is why we retaliate, why we try to get attention with our bodies. We fear others, we fear not measuring up to some standard, we fear not being acknowledged. I also believe I fear my “evil desires” dying. My sin nature doesn’t want to die, it wants to stay very much alive. So when I have strong ambitions and desires (not all of which come from “evil desires,” but most of mine tend to, it seems) I fear submitting to God because I am afraid of being at peace with the idea that I may not be able to finish those ambitions or dreams if He chooses to have me do something else. Although I have given my will to God several times, this struggle of not wanting to accept what He’s willed, of wanting to be someone comes back. It is because I fear for my selfish desires, I fear that if they die, all my ambition will die also, and I will be content to sit out on life. Which is completely false. But again, fear is irrational. But largely controlled by our minds. So if I choose to focus on God, His love, His holiness, etc., I will not fear.
:9 The idea of no retaliation is emphasized again.
:10-11 More on actions requiring deliberate thought. Keeping a “tongue from evil” is more difficult than it sounds. And turning from evil and doing good requires conscious choice. I need to work on the first. I speak way too much, most of it does not need to be said. What does it mean to “seek peace and pursue it?”
:13 More on our mindset: be “eager to do good.”
:14 More on suffering – if we suffer for what is right, we are blessed. This type of suffering is not to be avoided, but rather embraced. More also on fear: “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” Why? Because we are to set apart “Christ as Lord” in our hearts. If we recognize Christ’s lordship, we will also recognize that we have nothing to fear if we are on His side. He is more powerful than death, therefore suffering has limited power over us. I fear being obscure, not measuring up to what I think I should be. not being understood, not being valued, not having close relationships. But this is useless because if Christ is Lord in my life, if I have chosen to acknowledge Him as Lord, He has fulfilled each of those desires. And, if He is my Lord, He is my passion, which He will be faithful to satisfy. But I am also to set Him apart as Lord with my words, thoughts, actions. So much to improve on!
:15-16 We should always be prepared to give answers to others (first time words are mentioned in evangelism rather than mere actions/life styles).

1 Peter 4
:1 Here again, the purpose of suffering comes up.
:2 If we “arm” ourselves “With the same attitude” as Christ (more requiring thoughts, conscious mental choice), we will not live the rest of our earthly life for “evil human desires” (that phrase again), but rather for the will of God. We must choose an attitude of trust, of surrender, of no fear and no retaliation, just as Christ demonstrated.
:4 Our actions may not always produce pleasant results, they will not always bring others to faith in Christ. BUT they will point them to Christ. Even though those who live in sin often hate those who live in righteousness because then their own sins are made blatantly apparent, they cannot refuse to see God’s holiness. And so, God is glorified.
:5 We will all have to give account of our lives to God the Judge. Like written in chapter 1, God is to be reverently feared, but those who trust Him are able to see His loving side as well.
:7 Ready for more instructions relating to the mind/heart/attitude?! “Be clear-minded” and “self-controlled.” Why? So we can PRAY. So this is our focus, talking to our Father, thinking about our God rather than simply being self-controlled and clear-minded for the fun of it, or so we may boast in our own control.
:8 Love is also the focus – it is “above all” and we are to not merely love, but love “deeply.” God is at the center of this too, for “God is love.”
:9-10 We are to use what gifts God has given us so “that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
:12-18 More on suffering. We’re not to be surprised when sufferings come because of our faith, but we should rejoice that we have been strengthened with God’s Spirit to endure the suffering. Peter further defines the types of suffering, making it clear that we are not to suffer for doing wrong,that is normal, but rather for being blameless.
:19 This verse is little, but packs a punch. We are to “commit” ourselves to our “faithful Creator” (interesting word choice – the idea of creating something implies the ownership of the creation by its creator/ we are God’s, therefore if He chooses for us to suffer, we should accept that because we realize our lives are His, not ours.) and, here’s where it gets interesting, CONTINUE TO DO GOOD! That means, if we’re experiencing suffering for righteousness, we are to continue in that righteousness, even though it brings more suffering.

1 Peter 5
Humility is essential. We should serve others out of humility as we recognize Who we are under.
:5 “Humble yourselves.” Yikes. So difficult to do. It requires a mindset which then must be acted upon. Just the mindset of humility without ever acting humble does no good, just as merely “acting” humble without actually having a humble heart is empty pretension.
:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” More action requiring an active mindset. I must literally cast my anxieties off on God, choose to give them to Him to take care of. If I would only remember this. I must choose to do this, just as I must choose to “set my hope” firmly on Jesus, set my mind on the “living hope” He has provided, be ready to give an answer for that living hope and choose to be self-controlled; I must choose to stand firm against the devil (5:9), choose to act in such a holy and blameless manner that i won’t even need words to express my hope and redemption in Christ, choose to view Christ as Lord, and trust Him with my life.
:9 I believe that one of the ways Satan tries to “devour” us is in the area of our thoughts. He tempts us skillfully by manipulating our selfish desires and fears. But if we choose to stand firm and resist him ( which requires conscious recognition of the battle, his desires, our evil desires, as well as finally focusing our attention on God rather than ourselves), and are so caught up in Christ rather than our selfishness, his chances of distracting us are considerably lessened.

Final Thoughts:
1 Peter is full of “mind control” stuff: what we should be focusing our minds on, what we should NOT do/think about, how we should then resolve to act, how we should speak (words stem from our thoughts), how we should have a humble and serving mindset, and an attitude of gratefulness. How we should approach suffering, which gets back to how we should resign our selfish desires and rather cling to God. How we must acknowledge Christ as Lord and because of that choice/mindset, we can then act out our faith in him by being holy in spite of suffering, by not fearing anything other than God, by surrendering our will to His and being content in that, and by humbly serving others. Yep, that was exactly what I needed to hear last week!

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