Here And Now, Not Sweet By And By

by Lura Langenback

© 9/20/08

I Peter 5:10--But may the God of all grace, who called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.

Sometimes when a person becomes a Christian (definition: Ask Jesus into their hearts, ask forgiveness for their sins) they assume that life will be easier. I have no idea where anyone gets that idea. Well, I actually thought that for a little while right after I became a Christian. When you think about that, it makes no sense. Once you are born again, you become more visible to the enemy, more of a danger. As a non-believer, you were zero threat. But after becoming a believer, life tends to get harder, not easier. It's like you have this great big target on your forehead or back. That's because the enemy takes notice.

God says "after you suffer a while". Ouch! Means He expects us to "suffer". Yes, I know. We do suffer. Financial problems especially right now, marital problems, children, parents, job, car, you name it. We've got problems. We suffer.

I have to say that I don't actually like to attach the word "suffer" to most of the things we go through because they do not hold a candle to what Jesus suffered on the cross for us. However, the Lord used that word so I will too.

The thing that I want to hold onto is God's promise in I Pet. 5:10 (above) to perfect (emphasis on second sylable..per-FECT), establish, strengthen and settle you. Oh, the huge promise there!! Most people read that and go "yeah and?". God promises to perfect (make perfect), establish, strengthen and settle. Okay, let's break that down a little bit.

Perfect---means to make perfect but it also is an active, continuing verb, meaning ongoing work. I love that!!! Nothing is done yet. We are a work in progress. He does not stop working on us.

To establish---a verb that means to bring to a stable point for example: when someone starts a new brick and mortar business. They are establishing a reputation.

God is establishing or bringing about our reputation as children of God. The Light that shines from us as believers establishes our reputation in the spiritual realm. We can choose to grow in that and be a beacon, established in our faith.

To strengthen---God has told us before that He strengthens us. (the joy of the Lord is our strength) He promises us that we will not be weak in Him. Our strength comes from God through the joy of the Lord and through our continual contact with God. That means talking with Him, praying, studying, communication, establishing a relationship, a fellowship, being close.

To settle---God promises to settle you. What? When I think of the word "settle", it reminds me of those people who traveled across the U.S. into new territories, not knowing what to expect but determined to find a place to call their own. More often than not, they had little money and goods. Once they found it, they settled down and worked the land. God wants to do the same for you. He wants to get you settled into your faith and the peace that passes all understanding.

Take note here that all these terms are for this earth, not in heaven. Many people read the scriptures and expect it all "in the sweet by and by." NO! These things that God promises are for the here and now. Isn't it time for ou to choose God's promises instead of trying to live in an ever increasingly hostile world? I think so. Why not take the time and seek God today? Now is as good a time as any.