by Rebekah Gilbert
Note: Each of these devotional blogs entries is meant to be read on your own or if you have family or friends you live with, to be read together aloud. A suggestion is to do this after you have dinner around the table together. At the conclusion, please spend time in personal reflection or in sharing with one another your answers to the questions at the end. Be sure to conclude with prayer.
Read 1 Peter 2:13-24
In our homeschool, we have a special time in our day that we call “morning time.” My aim for those few minutes is to anchor our day in God’s Word, take a moment to observe something true or beautiful or good, and set the tone for peace. We have been doing this for years, and let me tell you, sometimes we come across something in scripture that might be called a “hard pill to swallow.”
Before I tell you about a hard truth that we recently wrestled with, I just want to encourage you to read scripture with your family. It will instruct, humble, and bless you immensely! You don’t need fancy tools; just God’s Word and the people in your household. You also don’t have to come together with some idyllic picture in your mind of happy faces, gathered around the table, ready to hang on every word and participate in rich, lengthy conversation. That may happen sometimes, and it will be a blessing, but truthfully, it just doesn’t have to be picture perfect! Grumpy, messy, or even uninterested people can be ministered to by the simple hearing of God’s truth from His word. Believe me, we have certainly had our fair share of mornings when no one is feeling happy, our hearts are a hot mess, and cracking open the Bible to read is just not on our list of things we particularly want to do. We do it anyway, and it blesses us. It teaches us. It changes us.
Now back to that “hard pill!” Have you ever had to swallow a hard pill? I think the biggest pills I’ve ever had to swallow were prenatal vitamins. They felt like they went down sideways, were uncomfortable the whole way down, had a terrible aftertaste, they threatened to come right back up, and often led to nausea for hours.
Sometimes hard truths can be like that! They go against what our “flesh” wants, they don’t necessarily feel good or natural, and they’re just plain difficult to take! However, just like the prenatal vitamins, if we’re willing to push through some discomfort, then listening and responding to God’s hard truth, can result in health and wonderful rewards.I Peter 2:13-25 is all about submitting to our earthly authorities. When the kids and I were reading through this passage, we were hanging in there until we got to verse 18. We felt fine submitting to reasonable, kind authorities, but to quote from a variety of translations, verse 18 addresses “unreasonable, surly, overbearing, unjust, or crooked” authorities. Yes, sometimes we have to submit to authorities when it just plain isn’t fair! Ugh! Hard pill!
This stung my sensibilities for a few minutes, but I was quickly softened after reading a bit further. Christ led us by example in this. He submitted himself to harsh and unjust authorities, committing no sin, and with no deceit in his mouth. His response was to submit, and entrust himself to his Heavenly Father. We can see that in Jesus’ example, entrusting oneself to God, means that when we are treated unfairly, or charged with unreasonable requests by our authorities, we do not need to lash out, hurl insults, or retaliate. The Lord judges justly, and we can trust that He will. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for his righteousness; by his wounds we are healed.”
Jesus’ death was the ultimate example of obedience to authority, even when the request is unreasonable. I pray that we can experience kindness from those who are in authority over us, but even if not, then I pray all the more that we will have the bold humility to walk in Christ’s example, and entrust ourselves to our Heavenly Father.
Reflect with someone else or on your own:
- Who is in authority over you?
- How can you specifically live out Christ’s example of submission to them?
- Ask God to help you identify areas of sinful pride in relation to your authorities, and give you the courage to make a change.