We urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14, NIV Discernment isn’t easy, but God has given us two gifts that can help us. The impulse of the Spirit Thank God for the gift of the Spirit....
I appeal [to you] as…a witness of Christ’s sufferings. 1 Peter 5:1 (NIV)
Peter is talking about his greatest failure. When Jesus was arrested, Peter denied him three times. So when Peter says, “I was a witness of Christ’s sufferings,” he is really saying, “I know my own failures.” This isn’t an exercise in self-condemnation. He is calling to mind how far he’s come. He does the same thing in chapter 2:
[God] called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (2:9).
You were ignorant of God’s truth. You did not know it, and you could not understand it.
Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (2:10).
You were guilty of sin, and there was nothing that you could do about it.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God (2:10).
You were an outsider to the community of God’s people, with no way in.
That’s what you were—an I-G-O—an ignorant, guilty, outsider. This isn’t a good approach to evangelism, but it is appropriate for us to remember where we come from. Apart from God’s grace, this is what we would still be today.
Why are you able to see God’s truth and somebody else doesn’t? How come your sins are forgiven and somebody else’s aren’t? How come you’re a citizen of heaven and somebody else isn’t? The only difference is the grace and the mercy of God. Look where you’ve come from!
Reflect on where you’ve come from and thank God for his mercy to you (or ask him to pour his mercy into your life).