If you’re reading a chapter each day we’ve finished 1 Thessalonians. I didn’t get to write about the last couple of chapters. What stood out to you as you read?
Today we start 1 Peter. Did you know the chapter we read is at the top of each of post? If you click it a window opens directly to that chapter. I hope you enjoy the observations I make about what we read. I hope my words encourage and challenge you to take your next step of faith. Here’s a suggestion that will help you get the most out of these devotionals. If you have to choose between reading the Bible or reading my comments on the Bible – pick the Bible. You can have the author present while you read and ask him questions directly about what you read.
Because of the work I do I’ve had the privilege of being on both sides of the stage. I’ve been the artist leading worship. I’ve been the preacher entrusted to deliver the message. I’ve been the actor or emcee. In my current position I’m often the Minister of Announcements. I’m comfortable on the other side of the stage as well. I’ve led the technology team responsible for making the sound, lights and video that seamless piece used to enhance the message. I’ve been the stage manager or producer behind the scenes calling the shots. I’ve also been the roady responsible for load in, load out and clean up. Whatever my responsibility I’ve had backstage access to a lot of cool events.
I’ve been backstage with Governors and Congressman. I directed shows with artists like Toby Mac, Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me, & Skillet. But enough name dropping, here’s something I’ve noticed about them all.
They’re just people.
They’re lives aren’t any more special than yours or mine. Their stage may be bigger. The limelight may shine on them brighter, but the life they lead isn’t that different from yours. Too often we look at those on stage and wonder why God won’t let us have a life like that. I’m not talking about the popularity, prominence or even the pay. I’m talking about the show. We see their life on stage. We hear the wisdom they speak or we’re inspired by the music they bring. We experience the joy of the moment. We are entertained by the story they tell and we assume they must be living their happily ever after. When will we get to live ours?
This problem isn’t simply about our admiration for celebrities. We do this with friends, family, colleagues, clients and coworkers. We look at their lives and wonder, “When will I get mine?” I’ve been backstage. I’ve seen the other side. The show you see is an illusion. That makes it sound dishonest. It’s not. The vast majority of the people I’ve worked with are sincere in their faith. The show you see isn’t an illusion because of deception. No, it’s a well crafted story that’s been practiced and honed into a razor-sharp edge designed to accomplish a specific purpose.
The problem isn’t the sincerity of the people on stage or our lack of a happily ever after. The problem is that we compare our behind the scenes footage with everyone else’s highlights reel.
Do you see what I mean? The show is the highlights reel. You’ve seen highlight videos. They never show the whole game, just the game winning touchdown. They don’t show the hours, days, and months of practice required to make the song perfect. We just push play on our iPhone and the music sounds amazing. The highlight reel never shows the effort spent finding just the right turn of phrase that will allow the speaker to be charming, memorable, relevant and inspirational. We see the finished product. We compare that to our behind-the-scenes footage.
Backstage things are a mess.
1 Peter 1 tells part of the story of our salvation. God chose, before time began, to create people he would love with an everlasting love. These people would rebel and reject him. They would need forgiveness. Justice would demand a sacrifice. God paid that sacrifice for us through his son, Jesus. Now our relationship with him can be restored. We can be holy as he is holy. We can be set apart as God’s special people.
But there is a backstage to that statement. Holiness is like the highlights reel. It’s something God does in you and through you. Sometimes he does it in spite of you. In the meantime there’s the behind-the-scenes footage of your life. There’s the backstage mess. 1 Peter 1 talks about the prophets who knew God would send a Savior, but who never saw that Savior themselves. There are moments your faith is challenged or violated, moments you’ll be forced to try to think clearly and practice self control. You have the promise of your salvation. You look forward to the day Jesus Christ will be revealed, but right now all you have is the struggle.
1 Peter 1 challenges us. Look at verses 6 – 9, “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
This world is our backstage, the story of our life the behind-the-scenes footage. Heaven is the highlights reel.
Will you be holy as God is holy? Don’t get discouraged because you compare your behind-the-scenes footage with everyone else’s highlights reel. Instead, use this time backstage to make moments that last forever.
What will you do today that will make the highlights reel?
Thank you for your gift of salvation. Thank you that you have loved me with an everlasting love. Thank you for writing an incredible story in me and through me. Today I want to draw closer to you. I want to become more like you. Don’t let me get discouraged because I compare my behind-the-scenes footage with everyone else’s highlights reel. Instead, let me make the most of the time I have. Let me make moments worthy of your highlights reel. Let me become holy as you are holy.”
I love you, in Jesus name – Chad