The Importance of Relationships as the End Draws Near

Cathy Hurtado 

"The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."  1 Peter 4:7-11

Peter in this passage exhorts the first century believers, and us, to carry out some important priorities as the end is drawing near and suffering and fiery ordeals were on the increase. What I find interesting is how the focus is on our relationships with God and each other.

Peter begins by telling us to be clear-headed so we can pray. For many of us, prayer is a last resort, only after we have tried everything on our own. God wants us to come to Him first. When we do, we are reminded of who’s in control, filled with His strength, and surrendered to the will of Father.

Then, Peter gives us three commands related to how we treat each other in a world where suffering, persecution and chaotic upheaval are increasing. He first says that we are love each other deeply. This is a choice to switch from focusing on our needs and to refocus on what will benefit another. Involved in this is the forgiveness that releases another from the debt of sin. (Eph. 4:32)

Second, we learn that we are to offer hospitality to one another without complaining. That means reaching out to people beyond our close-knit circle of friends and meeting their needs. We need to be sensitive to our grumbling and complaining. That's what shows us that our focus has shifted from doing the will of God to wanting our will and comfort. Prayer can refocus our priorities.

Lastly, we are told to serve each other with our God-given gifts using the words of God and relying of God’s strength. God has provided for us a way to endure through tough times. It is being rightly related to Him and involved in a healthy and unified body where He reigns and His will is practiced. The end result will be that God will be honored and praised.

Application: Is God being glorified in and through your life?

· How does your prayer life need to change so that you can pray and connect with God first?
· Whom do you need to forgive so you can love them deeply?
· How can you adjust your attitude so that you have both the heart and the time to joyfully offer hospitality to one another?
· Are you using your God-given gifts to serve one another in your church? If not, what are you going to do about it?

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