>Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

Some days I don’t feel like I’m a very good Christian. I can be self-willed and controlling. As often as I surrender those things to God, they still wake up with me every morning. I am the complete opposite of “laid back.” I guess that would make me “uptight.” (I don’t really care for that label). That means that I’m prone to put the task ahead of the team. I have to be careful not to fire up my steamroller and just make things happen. Obviously, I have been a great offender of Southern sensibilities. I’m learning – the hard way – but I’m learning.

On the days that I feel I have particularly let God and everybody else down, I need to know that I’m “kept” according to this verse. When I feel that God might be willing to throw me back, instead He assures that I am kept. God offers some irrevocable things in this verse: a new birth, a living hope, and an inheritance.

Our hope comes from Christ’s resurrection. When Jesus defeated death, Hell and the grave, He endowed believers with His amazing strength to persevere. As Rick Warren says, we can live weeks without food, days without water, and seconds without oxygen, but we can’t live a moment without hope.

Our inheritance will never perish, spoil or fade. This is the opposite of treasures on earth that can be destroyed or stolen (Matthew 6:19). The inheritance that God promises has great permanence – eternal permanence.

One last thing, God shields us with His power. That doesn’t mean that God protects us from every bad thing. Just like yellow pollen covers both luxury cars and clunkers in South Carolina this time of year, problems are not respecters of persons. While God’s power may not prevent every bad thing from happening to us, His power does preserve us in this life so we can enjoy the next life, problem-free.

My hope is that as I continue to surrender myself to God, He will continue to make me more like Him. On the days that I feel that I’ve blown it, fortunately, I’m not disqualified. God gives me (and you) far more than is deserved.