1 Peter 4:7 (MEV): The end of all things is near. Therefore be solemn and sober so you can pray.
Even when Peter was writing this, his expectation was for Jesus was imminent. we live some almost two-thousand years later. By any stretch of the imagination that mass of time cannot be counted as near or imminent.
Perhaps Peter wasn’t emphasizing the timing of things, but using the anticipation of the return of Jesus as an impetus for us believers to be right-minded. The need to have that mental clarity comes from the faith that Jesus keeps His promises. We also have to gird up each other.
It’s not people, really… But the entities that work in the spiritual realm which we do not readily perceive. These entities are real, and they work tirelessly to influence people and events. It’s a real war. That’s why we all have trials.
Peter has previously spoken in this epistle to expect that suffering and those trials. He has been teaching us to think correctly in those trials by keeping our minds sharply focused on heavenly things. That way we can do the things we need to do. Live soberly, and war spiritually.
What we need to do is pray. Even Paul speaks of this spiritual mindset. Like Peter is telling us how to be prepared for that, Paul uses a different idea in Ephesians 6. The two ideas are basically the same, though Paul used the imagery of a Roman soldier in armor. That armor was to set your mind in a certain way, and be ready.
Ephesians 6:18 (MEV): Pray in the Spirit always with all kinds of prayer and supplication. To that end be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
Be ready. Set your mind straight! And pray always.
If one isn’t sober, it is easy to get distracted and derailed, often leaving prayer behind.
1 Peter 4:8 (MEV): Above all things, have unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Before we can pray rightly for anyone, we must love them. That is at the root of what Peter is teaching us. It is the most important way to treat each other. If you love your brothers and sisters in the faith, it will lead you to be burdened with their cares. And when they stumble, as each of us is prone to do… We don’t make another feel guilty.
Pray for them… Even as you pray for enemies. The time is too short for us all.
1 Peter 4:9–10 (MEV): Show hospitality to one another without complaining. As everyone has received a gift, even so serve one another with it, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Sometimes hospitality toward another presents itself as a daunting task. Some people just rub us the wrong way. We don’t want to be hospitable.
Check yourself. Hospitality isn’t about us. Well, not in the way that comes to mind. It’s about extending a gift to another. That is, giving them something they don’t deserve to get.
Look! Each of us doesn’t merit what Jesus did for us. It came to us as a gift from Him. It is a gift rooted in the love He has for each us. A gift that comes because time is short. None of us are promised tomorrow.
Extending hospitality even when we don’t feel like it is being a good steward of the grace God gives. But you say you don’t have the gift of hospitality. Peter is saying you do. It comes with your salvation… And even before you were saved. God was hospitable toward you by sending His own Son to die in your place. The Bible says God commends His love toward us. That’s hospitality. It follows then that it ought be a necessary thing to do that for another, if you are a Christian.
1 Peter 4:11 (MEV): If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone serves, let him serve with the strength that God supplies, so that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
When we do any of these things to and for others, it ought be done in the same way God did it for us.
In that way, it lifts up Jesus in the eyes of all who look on.