1 Peter 4:7-8
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Peter sounds like someone who had been with Jesus. He had spent those three years learning from the master, hearing His preaching, witnessing miracles, and participating in many amazing things. At the time, he didn’t always understand. He didn’t get everything right. But now, filled with God’s Spirit, he puts a lot of the pieces together more clearly.
So what is the essence of the message? What do we do as we live in a sinful world, as we live among those who oppose our Savior, as we face the pressure to just give in to all the lusts of the flesh? First of all, we avail ourselves of that important resource of prayer. Peter learned the lesson “watch and pray” the hard way. Jesus had said that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, and we find strength for our weak flesh in the presence of God. Prayer is a necessity that makes a difference in our lives and equips us for those challenging things we face.
But then love is also important. Above all things, our response to others must be love. We demonstrate our love to Jesus by our obedience to Him. We demonstrate our love to our brethren and the world around us by loving our neighbors as ourselves. Love helps us to have a right response to difficult people and situations that we face in life. We let love be the kind of overriding factor that helps us do things we may not otherwise do, like forgive those who wrong us or give to someone who’s hurt us or bear some reproach.
Life is a battle, as Peter found, but not one always fought with swords and shields. The spiritual battle we face every day requires the right kind of equipment, and prayer is what equips us to face the assaults of our enemy. Prayer opens our hearts to God and what He wants for us. We find strength and encouragement and guidance from our Father. We also see through Jesus what love can accomplish. His response to the sinfulness of mankind was to give His life for our sakes out of love for us. And when love for others is at the forefront in our lives, we can respond to people and situations in a Christlike way.