In this fourth lesson of Sue Edwards’ study on 1 Peter, we come to what I consider to be some of the most difficult verses in the Bible. I am, by nature and heritage, a fighter. I feel justice deeply within my soul and spirit. Even as a child, I would get in trouble for standing up for those treated unjustly as well as being quick to point out misbehavior (read: tattle). I believed that the world should be fair and just. I still do.
So of course, I’m frustrated almost every day as I see injustice at every level. I do indeed feel like an alien in a strange country. I do a lot of prayer ministry with women, and my spirit rails at the pain they have suffered. I often wonder how some of these women even get up in the morning, so horrendous was the abuse they have endured. And yet, Peter tells us to submit. (Don’t you hate that word?) He says to submit to ungodly governmental officials (a timely word for today). He says to submit to ungodly laws (another timely word). He hints that if we are ever in a situation like Christ was, we are to submit.
It just doesn’t make sense. Or does it? A seriously misunderstood spiritual principal is that of coming in the opposite spirit. When we fight back according to our flesh, there is almost always anger, hatred, bitterness, strife and a whole host of other ungodly attitudes flying around in the atmosphere. It makes sense to our wounded flesh, but it’s really a snare. We simply add fuel to the devil’s schemes. He’s coming at us (directly or through people under his influence) with these attitudes. When we respond in like manner, we’re simply adding fuel to the fire. No hope of putting out that fire. James 3:5 talks about how even our words (not to mention our actions) can figuratively set a forest ablaze. I’ve been there and chances are, so have you.
But when we come in the opposite spirit, when we repay evil with love and kindness, it’s like throwing water on that fire. Our actions dilute the impact, cause the fire to sputter, and perhaps to die. It works, and Jesus is our example. Problem is, it’s so counter-intuitive that it’s very hard to remember and harder to do. But friends, it works.
I don’t think it’s coincidental that 1 Peter 2:24 is at the end of this chapter. Jesus was our model. He went to the cross without fighting back. He forgave. He made a public spectacle of Satan (Col. 2:15), turning Satan’s biggest coup into his biggest defeat. And in the process, he bought not only our forgiveness, but also our healing. When we respond like Him, we are in a position to actually receive and experience that healing. I’m going to make a greater effort to submit to what God allows in my life. How about you? Share with us how you interacted with this passage.
–In what circumstances do you find it most difficult to submit and behave as Jesus did?
–Where are you being stretched and challenged to behave rightly now?
–Do you believe Godly submission will result in the healing of your spirit, soul, and body?