The last Sunday of the year is a good time to take stock - looking back and evaluating, looking forward in anticipation. In today’s world with widespread concern about terrorism, economic uncertainty, and political discord we have a heightened need for scripture to guide our year-end reflections.
The apostle Peter wrote a letter to ‘exiles’, who suffered persecution, poverty and the apparent triumph of evil under the boot of Roman domination. He called on Jesus’ followers to gain God’s strength in their suffering, and to live by faith serving as examples to outsiders. The text before us, 1Peter 4:7-11, begins by observing, “the end of all things is at hand”. What follows, perhaps surprisingly, is not a challenge to storm the ramparts, but rather a call for practical holiness in four areas. These are: attention to prayer, persistent love for one another, generous hospitality, and deploying the spiritual gifts we have been given.
It is common to set a better course for ourselves as we approach a new year. May Peter’s call to practical holiness guide our 2016 choices so that God is honored among us and outsiders are attracted to the Savior.
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