“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10
When we’re young.. or maybe just as humans, it’s easy to focus on short-term things:
Interactions with other humans.
What we will have for lunch.
If we have enough money to BUY lunch…
But we care about the long-term things (what seems long-term to us), as well:
Now, it’s obviously great and normal to pursue these things. But if we aren’t careful, they can consume us, to the point where we live our whole lives chasing elusive ideals. Living this way, it’s possible to run hard after the perfect life and still never find what we are looking for.
And.. what ARE we looking for?
Most people may not identify it this way, but I think we all tend to chase after GLORY.
We’re glory-seekers. We just are. We relish in the moments when we find true pleasure, excitement, peace, or companionship. We love a beautiful sunset sky, or that one epic song played live by your favorite artist at their concert. Peaceful time with family or friends, but also the thrill of the craziest roller coaster in the amusement park. Both peaceful pleasure and exciting thrills we could describe as GLORIOUS.
But these good things often fade away or fall below our expectations at some point. Even when you get what you want the most, be it the an adventurous experience, or marriage, or that one job you always wanted, there will be times when it disappoints you. The thrill of the adventure wears off. The career path you chose involves steep challenges and hard decisions. Your spouse will fail you in ways you hoped they wouldn’t. And you continue on, just living in that gap, often glazing over the discrepancies between your dreams and your realities.
Now is where the “identity sample” of this blog post comes in.
When we believe on Jesus, tons of neat things come with our faith, and one is that we get to live in the fullness of this unattainable glory, forever!
We are called to ETERNAL GLORY in Christ:
“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus…”
First it’s good to notice that this is an exhortation, which is sort of like a blessing at the beginning or end of something. Like, say, the book of 1 Peter. This is a blessing that is bestowed upon us by GRACE, which is incredible. We can’t do anything to earn this blessing. We aren’t special, or inherently better people. We just believe!
And we who believe are called to eternal glory. Forever beauty.
So when a job sucks, or you go through a break up, or you move away from your best friends, or study abroad isn’t everything you wanted it to be, or the sun doesn’t shine for days, or you don’t have enough money for lunch… when the gap between your desire for a glorious life and your clumsy reality is as wide as Mariana’s Trench, there’s still hope.
“…after you have suffered a little while, perfect, strengthen, and settle you.”
Here’s the deal: we will suffer on this earth. It will be in big ways and small ways, and the thirst for glory will never be fully quenched. That truth is a part of this promise, which is almost comforting just because it brings the gap into the light. To an awkward, clumsy world that continually hopes for harmony in spite of the evidence, it declares, “Yes, you’re right. You are absolutely correct in feeling like things are not as they should be.”
And then, God offers a solution to this, which is so amazingly loving. He gives us the promise of eternal glory, so we have things to look forward to. It helps us know that our future is going to be greater than our past. Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Because of this, we own an identity of hope. We embody the promise of great beauty, and majesty. We can choose to live in the light of this truth.
So, it’s incredibly important to keep an eternal perspective… to “set our minds on things above” (Colossians 3:2). This is the part of our identity where we are more fixed on a greater purpose here on earth than the details in each day, week, month, or year.
In the meantime, Peter’s exhortation continues.
“May the God of all grace […] perfect, strengthen, and settle you.”
God will perfect us. He will slowly restore us to our glorious, lovely, eventual selves, which means less and less mistake-making as we go through life. The gap begins to close between our expectations of ourselves and the actual way that things play out. God will strengthen, and settle (or establish) us.
This part of the verse, albeit small, means a lot to me as I move to a new place, and get settled in a new life. It’s encouraging to know that God wants to perfect, strengthen, and settle me as I continue my education and seek out His purpose for me here. But regardless who I meet or what happens, whether I’m awkward and unable to express my ideas, or successful and productive, I still am able to hope in the promise of eternal glory! And this frees me up to hope for so much more.
See intro post here.