Many years ago when my children were small, they wanted a swing set. We lived in California at the time, and all the rest of our family lived in North Carolina. Several times a year, family would come and visit, and we always had a great time together.
Once, my in-laws came to visit, and they brought my brother-in-law also. The kids were so excited to see them and to be able to spend time with them. It wasn’t long however that the subject of the swing set came up and before another hour has pasted we were at the store picking out just the right one.
We bought the swing set and headed home. The kids were so excited they couldn’t contain themselves. We arrived home and unloaded the swing set in the back lawn and my father-in-law, my brother-in-law and me began the joyful job of putting it together.
The first thing we did was throw the instructions to the side. After all, that’s what any red-blooded male does, right? Anyway, we finally got it put together, and the kids were playing on the swing set and loving it. I began to clean up the trash and boxes, and while doing so, I came across a bag of lock washers we had left out.
That’s is correct! We forgot to put any lock washers on the swing set. It was at this time we made a choice I would so regret. We decided it was sturdy enough without them, and it would be okay. Over the next several months, I saw first hand just how important the lock washers were. The swing set began to move in places it had no business moving. I was constantly tightening and re-tightening bolts to keep the swing set functioning properly.
Often, in our walk with Christ we can leave out what looks like is not needed and then we find out it’s not only needed but vital and necessary. In 1 Peter 3:17-22 there is a portion of scripture if you are not careful you will read over and leave it in the box so to speak.
Peter is moving along and has talked about physical suffering. Then he moves us behind the curtains to the spirits of suffering and how they have been defeated in Christ Jesus. In other words, he doesn’t leave the washers in the box.
Jesus has defeated the unseen evil forces of this world that afflict you and me. It may not seem like it because we still suffer this side of heaven and earth coming together. However, I want you to know today that your suffering doesn’t determine your identity because your identity is in Christ. The powers of darkness have been broken and defeated. (Now but not fully yet)
I like to think of it this way. The President-elect of the United States is the title used for an incoming President of the United States. There is a period between Election Day and Inauguration Day. The President-elect has a vision that those who believe in him follow. They follow and act out that vision even before his final taking of the office on Inauguration Day. The same is true of us as Christ followers. We live out what Jesus has accomplished by the cross and resurrection. We wait by moving forward with the help of the Spirit in this sinful and broken world.
You might find yourself suffering in the now, but one day suffering will be no more. Until then, follow the path, the same path Christ walked for each of us. The path of suffering that leads to the eternal sunrise of the 2nd coming, where death, hell and the grave will be casted away forever.