As we have already seen throughout the book of 1 Peter that Peter is concerned with how Christians are to conduct themselves knowing that Jesus could return at any moment. In 1 Peter 4:7, he begins some concluding statements with the phrase “The end of all things is at hand.” Now this does not mean Peter thought the end was coming the next day, but it does reveal a truth that we would be wise to comprehend. Christ has already accomplished all He needed to and therefore, His return could come at any moment. So again, Peter desires to stress this point: If Christ could return at any moment, how should I be living? Peter mentions four specific things here, (you can find other elsewhere in 1 Peter as well as similar admonitions from Paul).
First, we need to control ourselves. “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7). Interesting that Peter’s first recommendation is for us to be self-controlled in the face of the imminent return of Jesus. It seems as though our ability to control ourselves is a mark of spiritual maturity and preparation for Christ to come again. Not only that, but our prayers and God’s answering of them appears to be tied to our self-control. I think this is because self-control, (in the Christian mindset), is the pursuit of holy living. What are we controlling ourselves against but sin? Therefore, for the sake of our prayers and to ready ourselves for Christ’s return, we need to have control over our sinful, fleshly passions. We can offer up our lives/all that we do, (pursuits, dreams, goals, etc…), in holiness to our King.
Second, we need to love one another. 1 Peter 4:8 adds, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” This probably doesn’t come as too big of a shock. Love for others is one of the greatest commandments, (Mark 12:30-31). But I think we need to remember that our love for others not only brings glory to God, but also benefits those around us. Our love can cover a “multitude of sins.” This doesn’t mean it hides sin, but instead provides a place of grace and forgiveness for people to grow in their Christlikeness while battling sin. We can offer up our love/emotions, (for God and for others), to our King.
Third, we need to be hospitable. In 1 Peter 4:9, Peter says, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” This admonition stands out a bit. I get self-control and love, but hospitality? Why in the world does this make this list of, “If Christ is coming back soon, how should I live?” Well just as our self-control is offering God our lives. And just as love is offering God our love and emotions, hospitality is offering God all we own. To be truly hospitable is to make “mi casa es su casa.” A truly hospitable person is hospitable with all they own. We can offer up all we have to our King.
Finally, we need to use the talents and abilities God has graciously given us for His Kingdom. Peter concludes this section in 1 Peter 4:10-11 by saying, “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.”
This is all we are. Everything that makes us us can also be given over to God. We can use our talents to further His Kingdom here on earth rather than just using them to get promotions at work. We can use our gifting’s to push back the darkness around us rather than for the praise of friends and family. We can offer up all we are, (our talents, abilities and skills), to our King.
What Peter is getting at is this: “Jesus could come back any time now. Have you truly given Him everything? Have you given Him all you do and hope to do? Have you give Him all your love, affection and emotion? Have you given Him all you own? Have you given Him all your talents and abilities? Because He is coming soon, and He is worth the giving up of each of these things!” The question we are left to ponder is this: What aren’t you giving up in sacrifice to King Jesus? He is coming soon and He is so worth it. My prayer and hope for each of us this week is that we would give all that we are and have as a gift to King Jesus!