This week we begin the season of lent, a period that encourages us to walk the way of Jesus. When we read the gospels, we see the values and examples of Jesus and the difference he made to the culture that was established by the authorities of the day. It is often said that the Kingdom Values flipped the culture. If we consider some of Jesus’ words from his sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7), we hear Jesus say, “You have heard it said... but I say to you…”
Lent is our opportunity to consider what we value the most. It is a time to go without; that gives us an appreciation for those who are not blessed with such blessings. It is also a time to consider our words, thoughts and actions, and ask whether they are in line with our values.
In 1 Peter 2, we read of the encouragement Peter gives to the early church. Peter encourages the believers in three ways. Firstly, he challenges them in their behaviours towards others, who do not share their beliefs:
“Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbours. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honourable behaviour and they will give honour to God when he judges the world.”
Secondly, he encourages them in their attitude towards those in authority:
“For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honour those who do right.”
Thirdly, he encourages the believers to:
“Respect everyone, and love the family of believers.”
This week, let us take the opportunity to consider how we live our lives towards others, towards authority and towards those closest to us. Lent is a great time to reset and reflect on the best steps we can follow - the example of Jesus.