[February 12, 2023]

Heartland Community Church


Hope in God Changes Us

By Allison Antrim

In my former career as a teacher, there would be whole weeks where I would cry in my car every morning before walking into the building. Every teaching strategy I tried seemed to fall flat. Expectations were miles above my performance. I couldn’t connect with the kids who needed it. I was trapped in a neverending cycle of failure and disappointment.

Then, hope broke through. My grandfather, in faith and foresight, set aside a large sum of money for each of his grandchildren with the only stipulation that we use it to “do something big” – like pay for a down payment on a house, buy a new car, or, in my case, go to graduate school. He gave me the gift of hope by making it possible for me to quit teaching and get my master’s degree. Now, I’m in a second career at a public library, in a position I love in a place I’m happy and proud to work for. Now, not a week goes by without me spontaneously thanking God for the opportunity to work somewhere that doesn’t feel hopeless.

However, even the best job in the world absolutely pales in comparison to the living and eternal hope God offers us in Jesus. For those of us who believe in Jesus, we have tasted the goodness of God at the point of our greatest hunger, and it is unlike anything else in existence. Belief in Jesus causes hope to blossom in our hearts and spread throughout our thoughts and actions, changing us, conforming us to his example.

Of course, we have to allow hope to do its work in us. We have to grow up spiritually. How do we do that? By drinking deep of God’s word. Today, we read Peter’s instructions to “not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14) and “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (1 Peter 2:1). These are just some of the ways we can allow hope to grow us up from the inside out. Then, to paraphrase what Dan said at the end of his message, we can expect to:

  • Not be easily intimidated – our minds are solidly set on hope in Jesus.

  • Not be easily swayed – we are steadfast in holiness because he is holy.

  • Not be easily offended – we love others the way God has loved us.

  • Not be desperate for people’s approval – instead, we’re desperate to hear from God.

Take a look at your faith. How has hope impacted your life as a result of your belief in Jesus? Where do you see spiritual immaturity in your faith, and what would it look like to attend to that this week? If you are considering placing your faith in Jesus, who can you reach out to and share that decision, or your questions?


[Monday, February 13]

Read 1 Peter 2:1-3

Peter instructs his audience to take two actions: rid themselves of “all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind” (verse 1) and “crave pure spiritual milk” (verse 2). Doing so will help them grow up, spiritually speaking. The things they are to get rid of are sins that hurt others. What they are to fill themselves with are the simple but good truths about God, which will overflow out to affect others. Which of the things mentioned in verse 1 do you need to rid yourself of? What truths from God can you fill yourself up with in its place?


[Tuesday, February 14]

Read 1 Peter 2:4-6

Here Peter uses the metaphor of living stones to explain what the Christian life looks like when trusting in Jesus. Jesus is the cornerstone, the stone by which all other stones in the structure are secured, yet his value wasn’t recognized by humans but only by God. God builds upon Jesus with those who believe so that together, we create a “spiritual house” (verse 5). Interestingly, oikos, the Greek word for “house,” has as one of its meanings a family’s home. It is fitting that God would connect us and build us up into a family that worships and serves him together. And how comforting it is to know that Jesus is secure; when he is the cornerstone, the building won’t fall apart. How do you sense yourself being “built into a spiritual house” (verse 5) at this point in your life?


[Wednesday, February 15]

Read 1 Peter 2:7-8

Peter continues quoting the Old Testament (Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 8:14) to show that Jesus is the fulfillment of past prophecies. To those of us who believe, Jesus is more than a stone – he is a precious stone of the greatest value. Jesus was indeed rejected by those who don’t believe, just like the prophecies predicted. And while Jesus was on earth, as well as to this day, he trips up those who don’t believe and obey the teachings about him. It is difficult to consider the last part of verse 8, which says that those who don’t believe were “destined” to stumble. One way to look at it may be to consider there is no neutral approach to Jesus, like those who say he is only a great moral teacher; all people are destined to confront the truth of Jesus being God in the flesh. Then, they either believe in him or reject him. What is one thing about Jesus that makes him precious to you? If you are new to learning about Jesus, what questions do you have?


[Thursday, February 16]

Read 1 Peter 2:9-12

In contrast to those who don’t believe in Jesus are those who do. Peter does something astounding in these verses. He lists phrases that previously belonged only to Israel – “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (verse 9) and “the people of God” (verse 10) – and ascribes them to christians, to those who follow Jesus. A shared belief in Jesus has made one people out of strangers and covered them with mercy. Even the original purpose of Israel, which was to be a light to the nations, now belongs to those who believe in Jesus. Consequently, because of this rich and noble calling, verses 11 and 12 implore the believers to abstain from sin and live righteous lives. Which phrase in verses 9 and 10 stands out most to you? What will it look like this week for you to apply verses 11 and 12 in your own life?


[Friday, February 17]

Read 1 Peter 2:13-17

Here Peter shares specific guidance on how to live righteous lives in an unbelieving world. Christians are to submit to human authority, specifically government leaders, because doing good speaks louder than the criticism of others. Thinking of themselves as God’s slaves will enable the believers to live as free people, as long as they aren’t trying to sin under the guise of freedom. Giving proper respect to everyone, from God to the supreme human authority to other Jesus followers to all other people, is also part of the instruction. Have you experienced what Peter describes in verse 15? What is one way that living as God’s slave enables you to live in freedom?


[Saturday, February 18]

Read 1 Peter 2:18-25

Peter ends chapter 2 with specific instructions for slaves. This may be a hard passage to read and consider because of what we know about the horrors of slavery in American history. How difficult it is to think of someone having to suffer under an unjust master and be told not to retaliate. Yet Peter gently explains that this is exactly what Jesus did, and in doing so he has left an example for slaves to follow. But how do we, who live in a society without the institution of slavery, apply this passage? Do you have a job with someone in authority over you who may not always do right by you? Are you a caregiver to young children, or an elderly family member, that may not always treat you well? Those are just two scenarios in which you can apply Peter’s instructions. How can you follow Jesus’s example in suffering at this point in your life?


{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources). You can also download The Bible Project App HERE.

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get the free YouVersion Bible for your phone, tablet, or computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

The Bible App For Kids YouVersion partnered with OneHope to develop the Bible App for Kids, designing it specifically to engage children with Bible stories on an age-appropriate level. The Bible App for Kids is a free app for Android, Apple, and Kindle devices, available in over 60 languages.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

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12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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