When You’re Taken Advantage Of

One of the most painful experiences in life is the feeling of being taken advantage of by someone else.  I’m sure all of us have been there at some point or another.  Maybe it involved being wronged by someone you trusted, or being ripped off by someone who used you for their own ends, or being mistreated by someone in a position of authority.  A common reaction to such mistreatment at the hands of others is to seek revenge.  There is a part of us that wants to retaliate.  Well, the believers to whom Peter’s letter is addressed had known that kind of hurt. They knew what it meant to be taken to the cleaners, to be exploited and used, and totally taken advantage of by their persecutors.  How were they to respond?  Peter gets to that in 1 Peter 2:18.  Here, Peter takes up the issue of submission to authority figures, in their case as servants, to ‘masters,’ even to those who were treating them unfairly.

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Second Place

In life’s greatest contests, everyone wants to come in first place because no one really remembers those who come in second.  But someone has to.  Not everyone gets to sit at the head of the table, but in no way does that make them less important.  The Bible is filled with stories of those who come in ‘second place,’ who are largely unnoticed by others, but are still upheld as examples of obedience and faith.

One of the most unnoticed characters in the Old Testament is Jonathan, the son of Israel’s first king.  Jonathan was next in line to follow in his father’s footsteps.  Had God not intended to bring Saul’s failed dynasty to an end, Jonathan would have indeed been king.  And yet nowhere do we read in 1 Samuel that Jonathan is resentful about it.  Instead, he was a friend to David and demonstrated great loyalty even though it meant he would not be king.  David would be the next king, and Jonathan would be passed over.  He was content with second place.

Jonathan is a picture of humility and a willingness to be second.  We live in a world that constantly says that you are number one.  Selfishly looking out for our own best interests comes natural to us.  Humility is certainly one of those character traits that we praise in others, but don’t necessary seek for ourselves.  Jonathan’s willingness to yield the spotlight to David merely illustrates the humility of the Christian life.  Rather than living as rock stars in our own minds, our lives must be gospel platforms that point others to David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Even Jesus Himself, the One who is Lord above all, made Himself of no reputation and took the form of a humble Servant.  We must follow in His steps.

“Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son.  Help me today to realize that life is not about me, but is all about Jesus.  May my life be a simple platform for His grace and glory to be on display for others to see.  Amen.”

Hope Beyond Hurt

IMG_2562When your world falls apart, where do you go for strength?  When you hurt, where do you find hope?  Our world is filled with suffering, heartache, and pain.  People everywhere seem to be hurting in some way, yet many are without hope.  That is why the first epistle of Peter is so important.  It reminds us that as those who trust in Jesus, we have a “living hope” no matter what we face in life.  As someone who was well acquainted with pain, Peter writes to first century Christians who were suffering for their faith.  His timeless and inspired words are just as relevant now as they were nearly two millinea ago.  That’s why I am so excited that beginning this Sunday at Green Street, we will take a verse-by-verse look at this epistle and be encouraged to find our hope and confidence in Christ.  Invite a friend!

Sermon notes will be available each week on this website.

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