3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
16 because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."
17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
Luke 11:12 says that if we ask God for an egg, He won't give us a scorpion. But sometimes, when I ask God for an egg, He gives me a Denny's Grand Slam instead.
Such was the case with my Bible study this morning. I asked God to speak to my heart about something that's a concern for me right now, thinking He would lead me to one of those comforting passages that says that He cares for me (I Peter 5:7, Matthew 11:28). I only ordered an egg, but God knew I needed something more filling and nutritious. Something I could chew on for a while. Something that would stick to my ribs.
So He served me up a heaping helping of the first chapter of I Peter.
I've been asking God to teach me to need Him more. No, not just "need". NEED!!! And guess what I've learned-- God delights to answer prayers like that. Guess what else I've learned-- He doesn't usually do it by waving a magic wand over your head and instantly making you the way you want to be. He brings circumstances or people into your life that you have to walk through and work through. Along the way, He's sneakily transforming your character to make you more Christ-like. It's like nuclear physics homework, only not as easy or fun.
(Personally, I would prefer a magic wand. It's easier, faster, and requires nothing on my part. On the other hand, Cinderella got the magic wand treatment, and where did that get her? She didn't learn to sew a designer gown, shop for comfortable shoes, or make her own travel arrangements. How could she fend for herself the next time there was a ball? But I digress...)
So, I find myself in this situation where God is teaching me to really NEED Him. I've done literally everything I can do on my end. The only thing left is for God to move. And, boy, do I need Him to move. Like, yesterday.
So, I'm praying and praying and praying about this situation and God says, "Look, you're missing the point. The whole point of this little exercise is not about the end result (the resolution of the situation). That's temporal. It's not going to last. The point is what I'm teaching you as I walk you through it. That's imperishable. Eternal."
And so, I pursue the imperishable.
Because I was redeemed --bought back-- not with perishable seed (23) or with perishable things like gold or silver (18), but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ (19), and until I reach my inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for me (4),
I will forsake lusting after the perishable (14) and pursue obedience and holiness (15-16), which are imperishable.
I will greatly rejoice whenever I am distressed by perishable trials (6), because the proof of my faith --which is imperishable-- even proof by fire, is more precious, more valuable than all the perishable gold or material things in this world (7).
Pursue the imperishable things of God. They are more precious than food, shelter, safety, family, money, reputation, things. They are eternal.