1 Peter 4:7-8 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Peter never ceases to amaze me. That God could and would take someone as he manifestly was at first, a brash, uneducated fisherman, bossy and opinionated, and turn him into the man we see here just blows my mind. The thing is, the history of the Church is filled with such stories. Even Paul couldn’t believe his own transformation! (1 Timothy 1:12-16) Augustine of Hippo is another who comes immediately to mind and there are countless more, all the way to this present moment. Here, Peter is implying the supreme importance of prayer, and then he states the supreme importance of love. Being clear minded and self-controlled certainly seems desirable, but Peter says that the purpose of such desirable traits is prayer. We tend to put that in the opposite order, praying that we can be clear minded and self-controlled! The thing is, prayer is fellowship with our Creator and Lord, not just expressing what is on our heart but hearing what is on His. Along with worship, it is direct practice for how we will spend eternity. Even then, Peter says “above all,” and brings up love. As Paul so famously wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, without love it all falls apart. We tend to take this statement as our love covering over another person’s sin, but in the case of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, He said that her love covered over her sin. (Luke 7:36-50) Since we all sin, if we fail to love, we’re in trouble! That Peter, of all people, would come to this realization shows the transforming power of God. We have a lot to learn from him, allowing God to transform us just as He transformed him, for our blessing and His glory.
As I write from time to time, I have been enormously blessed by Peter and his example. Those who know me compare me much more to Paul, and I personally would like to be like John, but Peter’s example and what he wrote, though comparatively (to Paul, anyway) brief, has been an enormous help and encouragement to me. The encouragement comes from the clear proof that God can use anyone; it doesn’t matter how you are when He starts. I have written about the absolutely stupid pride and conceit that blinded me to so much, until God so kindly showed me a mirror and I repented in abject tears. At this point, I realize I have plenty of room to grow in prayer, as Peter says here, and there’s always room to grow in love. Agape love isn’t always soft and yielding, but it always draws everyone involved toward God, who is Love itself. (1 John 4:8) I want to keep growing, just as Peter did, to be exactly what God wants me to be, for the sake of His kingdom and for His glory.
Father, You know me and love me, even with all my weaknesses and faults. Thank You. Help me draw ever closer to You, allowing You to flow through me to every person and situation I encounter, so that Your will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!