If 1 Peter 4:7–11 were written according to how the text is actually lived out, it would probably go something like this:
The end of your days could be at hand; therefore have fun and live a little. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, unless one sins against you. Show hospitality to one another and make sure to post about it. As each has received a gift, use it to serve yourself, as good stewards of your own life: whoever speaks, as one who speaks their mind; whoever serves, as one who serves without wearing yourself out — in order that in everything you can make sure to glorify yourself.
With it written out, we should be able to see that it would be silly to live like that, so contrary to God’s Word. But we do live that way. Maybe not exactly that way, but just speaking for myself, I know it is very counter-intuitive and also seemingly impossible to love people the way Peter exhorts us to.
Here’s the true inspired Word of God:
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
— 1 Peter 4:7–11
I want to challenge you to read that text (the correct one) over and over. Let it show you more about the God we serve. Let it remind you of how Christ served his bride (the Church) by humbling himself, taking on the form of a servant, even being obedient to death on a cross. This is the way Jesus lived, and this is the God we serve. After you’ve done that, chew on the text longer, and see how it translates over to your life. Do you live like God calls us to, or is that text just a group of nice words some dead guy named Peter wrote?
One problem for us is that love is such a misused word. We somehow use the same word when describing our affection for our one true God and also for Cheetos. In our culture, love somehow works in both situations, but our meaning of the word is obviously different. So, in understanding this passage from Peter, we’re going to use the Bible’s definition of love:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
— 1 Corinthians 13:4–7
This is the kind of love we are charged to show “earnestly”. This is the kind of love that covered over our “multitude of sins”. Jesus did not hurt those who hurt him. He did not lash out when he was spoken of incorrectly. Instead, he chose love. He chose to submit himself to death on a cross to give us a chance at a new life. He knew, from the beginning of time, that we would be broken people in need of a savior, needing redemption.
If you have never crossed the line of faith and surrendered your life to the Lord, please respond to this email so we can walk you through that!
… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
— Romans 10:9–10
This is something that is ultimately done between you and God, but we’d love to connect with you, pray with you, and walk through this journey with you!
If you have already been redeemed, awesome! Let’s work hard at loving hard. Let’s be different in how we love. Let’s seek ways to grow in our love for one another. Not for likes, but so that “in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ”. Jesus is our example. Let the power that God supplies propel you to live a life full of love.
Love differently. Love earnestly.