All In For His Kingdom.

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

-1 Peter 4:7-11

The following is a devo that I wrote for my church a few weeks ago on 1 Peter 4…Enjoy!


As someone who has worked on PCPC youth staff for quite a few years, I’ve had the privilege of helping hire many two-year residents to work on our middle school and high school teams. In a recent interview with a hopeful new employee, the interviewee asked me what I thought made a strong resident. My answer was easy: an abiding relationship with God and a desire to be “all-in.” Rightfully so, the interviewee asked me to expound on what I meant by being “all-in,” to which I told him we needed people who had a passion for youth ministry, who were devoted to prayer, and who would sacrifice their time and efforts to serve the congregation to the best of their ability because, after all, it’s only a two-year program and time is of the essence.

The interviewee accepted this answer and moved on, but I did not. I started to feel convicted, wondering if I was as “all-in” as I could be in my current role. Truth be told, I quickly reconciled the feeling with the fact that I, as a permanent staff member, was not on a two-year time crunch; I even reassured myself by thinking, “coasting is normal and healthy in long-term ministry.” But, I’m here to tell you that I was wrong to have had that mindset, not only as someone who works in full-time vocational ministry, but also as a Christian who believes Jesus is coming back soon.

1 Peter 4 reminds us that we are people with a mission, a purpose, and a deadline. We are to rest along the way and lean wholly on Jesus, but we are never told to “coast” through Christianity. In fact, I would argue that believers should be the most “all-in” humans alive.

However, let me be honest with you: often when I read 1 Peter 4 I feel unable or even unworthy to live such a faithful, servant-hearted, and fervent life. Why? Well, because I’m deeply aware of my own weaknesses and failures. I long to live an “all-in” life for Jesus, and yet, I fail Him oh-so-often. Is my effort even worth it, I wonder?

In these moments of insecurity, I’m reminded of the very man who penned the Scripture we are studying: Simon Peter. You probably remember that Peter was not only one of Jesus’ disciples during His earthly ministry, but he was also one of Jesus’ best friends. We know that Peter left all that he had to follow Christ—very much a prime example of being “all-in”—but we also know that Peter did not always faithfully serve the Lord. Yet how amazing that even after Peter’s denial, the risen Christ comes to him, asking “Peter, do you love me?” and allowing Peter another chance to be “all-in.” Russ Ramsey of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville said, “That Jesus would love a man like Simon Peter bodes well us, for you and for me. …It is not our record of righteousness that matters; it is Jesus’.”

We, too, are “Peters.” We fail Jesus, but we love Him and we continually try to follow Him, even in our weaknesses. Let us be a people who are quick to look to Christ’s righteousness, not our own, and strive to be imperfect, but faithful servants of Jesus each and every day.

Currently listening to “My Worth Is Not In What I Own” by the Getty’s (this is a current favorite)

The Joy of Abiding

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. … These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” -John 15

I’m in the stage of life where all of my friends are having babies. As an “outsider looking in” on this stage, I’m constantly struck by how helpless infants truly are. They are glued to their parents, dependent on them for their every need. In addition to their dependence, babies, as we all know, aren’t the best communicators. They cannot tell you what they need or why they are uncomfortable; they simply cry out, hopeful that their adoring parents come to the rescue. And yet, slowly and subtly, you witness babies grow. They learn from their parents’ example and gradually pick up some tricks that help them become better communicators and more productive tiny humans. Babies lean wholly on their parents and glean from their examples, which in turn helps them become the people that God intended them to be.

Babies actually show us a beautiful picture of an abiding relationship with Christ. As little ones in the world constantly lean on their parents’ sturdy care, we too must be so dependent on God. We should look to Him in all we do; we should learn and grow from Jesus’ example in the Word; we should be quick to cry out to Him in moments of desperation. Like young infants, we must face the truth that apart from God, we can do nothing. 

We know we need a dependent relationship with the Lord, but often we rebel against that idea, choosing self-sufficiency over reliance. Practically, this may look like: feeling too busy to spend time in prayer or God’s Word; going to God as a last resort when troubles arise; not stopping to talk to God about big life decisions. There are a myriad of ways we choose self-sufficiency in our daily lives, but as believers, we must acknowledge the pride and foolishness in going that route. In the end, self-sufficiency will always fail us. But an even greater consequence, I would argue, is what we would miss out on by forsaking an abiding, dependent relationship with Christ: full joy.

Rankin Wilbourne wrote in his book “Union With Christ”: “It is a beautiful dance: our highest joy is found in God’s glory, and God is most glorified in us when we find our highest joy in him.”

When we abide with our Heavenly Father, we are reminded of His supreme glory, which is necessary to see Him, those around us, and ourselves as we ought. As we lean on His power and grow from Jesus’ example, we will find ultimate joy in His glory, and in turn, glorify Him through that joy.

Abiding is one of the greatest gifts we have as believers. Don’t let self-reliance keep you from the abundant joy that is promised through a thriving relationship with Him. 

Currently listening to “Yes and Amen” by Housefires