1 Peter 2:21-25(NLT) “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.”

Good day! Today we are going to have fun together. These heartfelt words from Peter are potent enough to change your life forever. The word of God is living and active. One of my prayers for you is that you would learn to love the Bible. I am not so much meaning in a scholarly way, but in a rich, spiritual way. Each time you open the Bible and seek the heart of God, He wants to speak into your life.

Holy Spirit, we invite you now to come and lead us into truth. Help us discover the happiness and joy that comes from friendship with you. Fill our hearts today with HOPE in you.

Peter is not going to let us get away from this whole subject of suffering. I kind of want to move on, but he keeps bringing it back up. He is holding the line for us. God has called us not to merely be good, but to do good. Jesus cares about the fruit of our lives! One component of the fruit of the Spirit is goodness. The more we walk with Jesus, the more good we do.

Recently, I have been having something weird happen to me. I’ll look at a picture of myself or look at myself in the mirror and think, “Do I really look that old?” Stacie sometimes will remind me that the mirror is not lying, but then she tells me she likes my salt and pepper and thinks I look better at 39 than I did at 19. I’ll take it!

But I am getting older and actually I think I’m looking more like my dad—more like I remember my dad looking when I was in high school. There is something hardwired in the genetic disposition that is aging me and making me look different. So many people try to fight that progression, but I think it’s better just to embrace reality. Yes, let’s work out, eat healthy, and take care of ourselves, however..

Let’s embrace the fact that we’re changing! We’re all getting older.

One thing I just keep coming back to as I read this letter is how Peter kept getting older but just couldn’t get over Jesus. He is past salt and pepper. He’s all salt now. It’s 30 years later, and he’s Grandpa Peter. It’s like he just keeps making it all about Jesus.

In these few words, he gives us the goal of discipleship: to walk in the steps of Jesus. The original idea is to try and walk in someone’s footsteps, kind of like a little boy tries to step in his dad’s footprint on the beach.

When we start to follow Jesus, we just aren’t sure where those feet are going to lead us. We start walking, and, at some point, we look up and realize that these steps are taking a lot more effort than we thought they would. The sand is harder to walk in than it used to be. The breeze from the water has turned frigid. Perhaps we feel like we’re walking the journey alone.

Peter brings us back to Jesus and reminds us of the things we don’t have to carry anymore. As we walk this road, we no longer have the weight of our sin. Our sins were already carried and nailed to a cross. We once were wanderers, but now we’re following in His steps, which keep us pointed in the direction of HOPE.

I am struck by this last label Peter gives Jesus: “Your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.”

Peter would have grown up quoting Psalm 23! “The Lord is my shepherd. I have all I need. He makes me lay down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me along paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. For you are with me” (NKJV).

For you are with me! The Good Shepherd, the Guardian of your soul is with you, perhaps carrying you a whole lot more than you realize. He suffered for you, and because of that He is more than enough to sustain you.

Dear friend, He suffered for you! If Jesus had had to endure the cross for only one person, He would have. He would have done it for you. He loves you today, and He is wanting you to enter into His guardianship like never before. He’s such a good friend. He’s so kind. He’s not a distant God. He is an ever-present help in times of trouble.

Because the Good Shepherd has you in His care, you can do GOOD today!

Right now, would you ask Him to show you how to live in His steps? Ask Him to show you where you are going astray and invite Him to sustain you in the midst of whatever trial you’re facing right now.

Lord Jesus, oh how we love you. You are a good friend! Thank you for carrying my sin to the cross. Today I entrust my life to your care. Help me grow in goodness. Help me become more like you and follow in your footsteps.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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