To consider the Peter of the gospels compared to the Peter of the Early Church is quite the conundrum. This brash, know-it-all, ADHD on steroids disciple has experienced a revolution in his life that has completely changed him from the inside out. In this chapter, Peter focuses on persecution and talks specifically about how persecution can remove sin from our lives. Would Peter have ever thought that before Jesus or during His time under Jesus' training? I suspect not yet the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and his own personal persecutions have changed his thinking completely. He has watched as God has used persecution to purge his sin and to make Him more of the man he was created to be. Peter understood God's sovereignty to the point that he did not question what God was doing or why persecution was a part of his life. He knew that God was using those beatings and jail-time as a means to build his faith and defeat his sin. As American Christ-followers, we struggle with that concept because we have faced little persecution to this point. Understand that God has not promised us external peace throughout our lives; instead He promises internal peace even in the scariest of moments. How will you handle the next hardship, difficulty, or persecution you have to face? Will you see it as an opportunity to grow, or will you allow it to defeat you and your walk with God?

Help me, Lord, to see persecution as a tool You use to remove habitual sin from my life. Help me to trust Your plan and Your power no matter what I have to face in the future!