Reading: 1 Peter 1:17:

If you call on the Father, who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear during the time of your stay on earth.

Reflection: Calling God our Father is both a privilege and a responsibility. God-fearing is associated with responsibility. Being God-fearing means living in accordance with God’s will, His revelation, and the calling we have received. It involves choosing to always do good, in every moment and decision. However, many times we may not feel capable of being the kind of good we desire to be, and when we do desire it, we encounter exceptional difficulties. Peter is aware of this. Life in Asia Minor was difficult for Christians. They went through a time of persecution, and it seemed that hostilities were increasing, causing fear and concern.
If we were to read this sentence starting from the end, we might get a clearer picture of what Peter wants to convey. It is that God-fearing is a way of life (which we have chosen) even in times of persecution because we will inevitably stand before God’s judgment, where each person will be impartially judged. This should be especially clear to those who call God their Father. And why is that?
Family relations with the Father, due to His nature, cannot be an excuse for wrongdoing or bad behavior. The Lord is impartial. Remember, impartiality means treating all parties equally without bias or favoritism. Remember the words of John:

“Do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9)

God and partiality do not go together – He will judge everyone according to their deeds. Therefore, we should live in “fear” or “reverence.” I may use a slightly milder term, as the original Greek word is “phobos” – fear. We, as God’s children, should be impartial as well. It may seem normal to be good only to those who are good to us, which is definitely easier. However, that is not right. The Father expects more from us – He expects us to love even our enemies! In the end, if we are to feel any fear, let it be the fear of God, not of those who persecute us (for they will be rewarded according to their deeds)!
Let us keep in mind that this time is passing and nearing its end. We are living a life that will be “certified,” which will receive its final confirmation in the future. We are, in a way, strangers here on earth, similar to Jesus who came to His own, but His own did not receive Him. Likewise, we are here on God’s earth, but still feel like strangers.

The conclusion is as follows: as Christians, we will face challenges because of our faith, and we may not always be warmly accepted in society. However, we should not fear our opponents and the troubles that persecution brings. We should fear our own reactions and focus our strength on always acting in accordance with God’s will and His word.
Therefore, let us not be surprised when we realize that God will often require us to remain silent when we would rather speak, to speak when we would prefer to be silent, and not to retaliate in the same measure, even though others may encourage us and say it would be justified. We may have less, but we will be happy. We may appear “foolish,” but we will be wise. We may carry more, but the Lord will lighten our burden. We may walk longer, but He will carry us when we lose strength. We may die, but in that moment, we will be more alive than we ever were in the brightest moments of earthly life.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for granting us the privilege and responsibility to call You Father. We always desire to live in accordance with Your will and the calling we have received. We pray for Your help in choosing to do good, even in difficult moments when we feel incapable of being the kind of people we want to be. Amen!

Translated by: ChatGPT May 24 Version

Posted in Daily devotionals.