We’re reading the first epistle of Peter over two weeks, with brief explanations and applications. The Bible text (NIV 2011) is in blue, so you can tell what bits are Scripture and what bits are my explanations.
5:1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;
3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. Leaders—be attractively different in how you lead your youth, your home group, your ministry, your children. Don’t lead the way so much of our world leads, being in it for the status or the money or the feeling of control. But be in it for the sake of those you lead.
4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. Which is worth far more than earthly status.
5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. Be attractively different not just in how you lead, but in also how you are led. In fact, All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, as it says in Proverbs “God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.”
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Anxiety is an epidemic. All around us we’re told to worry constantly about things we can’t control – while being fed the delusion that we can control them, with the right insurance, health care, financial plan, parenting strategy, schooling… Be attractively different from the rest of the world by acknowledging God’s sovereignty – his “mighty hand” – and, in light of that, casting your worries on him.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. He wants to use your sense of marginalisation to keep you from God. Don’t be sucked back into the majority because it’s easier, or because the rewards are more immediate or more tangible.
9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. You might be a minority, but you’re a worldwide minority. Some of you might have lost your family to some degree, but you’re now part of a much bigger family in Christ.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while—at least, a little while in light of eternity—God will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
12 With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 13 She (the church) who is in Babylon, (that is, Rome, whose imperial ambition and opposition to God’s people has revealed her as nothing less than Babylon 2.0) chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.