One of the most frustrating things is when you get something brand new that you are so excited about, only to have it ruined after only a short amount of time having it.
You get home with a new shirt that you can’t wait to wear. It only takes an hour of having it on before your lunch misses your mouth and food goes tumbling down the front. No stain remover is perfect and some stains just won’t come out.
Or you buy a new piece of decor for your house. You get it set up just like you like it. After a few days, you accidentally bump into the counter knocking it over and before long, your beautiful new decorative piece is shattered on the floor.
These frustrating feelings can go beyond just material things, too. You had plans that suddenly fell through, the job you wanted so badly didn’t work out as you wanted it to or you didn’t score as good as you hoped on the test you studied so hard for.
Even more serious, you lose a loved one far sooner than you expected. A friend moves away and you feel lonely. Or you come down with an illness that will severely inhibit your way of life.
We easily get frustrated about these mishaps in life. Some rightly so, others just due to our selfishness and pride. However, I think there’s a lesson to learn in that place of disappointment.
I’ve just begun reading through 1 Peter. The first chapter of this book uses some very strong language that stuck out to me as I skimmed the verses.
These words are all related in one big way — they describe something sure and steady. In contrast to the things that I listed above, whatever these words are describing can’t be ruined, taken away or lost.
So, what are they talking about?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (vv. 3–5).
In Christ, we are born again to a living hope and an inheritance that cannot be destroyed. In a world constantly trying to get our attention and begging us to put our hope in anything but God, these verses remind us that nothing on this earth will ever be worth placing our hope and confidence in apart from Christ.
The new clothes we buy will eventually wear out. The houses we build and fill with pretty things will eventually get dirty and fall apart. Friendships, plans and careers will at some point disappoint us. Wealth will be spent, health will be challenged. Why do we so easily throw ourselves toward these things, expecting to find real life?
Hear me out on this — it isn’t wrong to desire nice things, a home you enjoy filling, friendships that last, a career you love or the health of you and your family. However, we must take this perspective — even those things can’t satisfy our hearts apart from Christ. We must be careful to not search in this world for what only God can give.
A few verses down in 1 Peter 1:23–25 the words of Isaiah 40 are repeated:
“Since you have been born again not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
‘All flesh is like grass
And all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
And the flower falls,
But the word of the Lord remains forever.’ ”
What a glorious hope that is! In Christ, we do not have to fear the loss of material goods. When we know Christ as our Savior, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit into something imperishable, completely undefiled and unfading. Even as we face losses, challenges and trials in this world, which we will, we can have confidence in our eternity with Christ that is a living hope.
It will never go away. It will never be thwarted.
Our lives, as verse 24–25 remind us, are like the grass — fading and withering. But the one thing that remains is the word of God and His promises.
What are we clinging to? The perishable or the imperishable?
Take hold of the living hope of Jesus Christ and find true rest and life for your souls.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:19–20).
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:1–3).
Emily Jones is this week’s guest contributor for The Rope. Emily works as a digital media specialist at one of TAB Media’s partners, Dogwood Media Solutions. She is from Headland, Alabama, and moved to Montgomery after graduating from Troy University and marrying Brannon in December 2019. To read more from Emily, visit her personal blog, Remembering + Rejoicing.