Here’s what the Contemporary English Version of the Bible does with 1 Peter 2:11b, “So I beg you not to surrender to those desires that fight against you.” I find that I need Peter’s challenge. How about you?
Not all of our desires are wrong. Some are God-given and are for our good. But we can derail even God-given desires into wrong fulfillment. And then there are those wrong desires that fight against us. Peter illustrates some of them early in chapter two: being hateful…deceptive…hypocritical…jealous…or cruel in our speech regarding others. He pictures such evil desires as enemy forces marshaled against our souls. And it is a fight for sure. It’s a never-ending war in this life. We don’t win every battle. In fact, if you are like I am, there are periods of time when you wonder if you are gaining any ground at all for Jesus.
And it is especially at such times that we need Peter’s encouragement. For God’s people, in spite of lost battles…many lost battles…embarrassments…shame…there is to be no surrender in this war. We are not quitting!
Peter knows whereof he speaks, doesn’t he? He knew all about losing battles. He failed repeatedly. He failed terribly. He knew the bitterness of regret…the anguish of failure. But he didn’t give up the fight ultimately. He found the strength in the love and grace of Jesus Christ to get back up and go at it again. And this is what we must do also. Our path in this life is not one of gentle ascent all the way through to heaven. It is a path filled with trouble, failure, disappointment, disgrace, but also filled with the faith, hope and love that come from our Lord.
So remember, sisters and brothers…
when doubts come…there is no surrender!
when sorrow comes…there is no surrender!
when trouble comes…there is no surrender!
when loneliness comes…there is no surrender!
when illness comes…there is no surrender!
when misunderstanding comes…there is no surrender!
when failure comes…there is no surrender!
when weariness comes…there is no surrender!
when friends fail us…there is no surrender!
when peace leaves us…there is no surrender!
when pain comes…there is no surrender!
when even death threatens…there is no surrender!
We are committed to the struggle. We will not back down, back up, lay down, give up, shut-up, turn around, or run away. No! We cannot do this after what our Savior has done and is doing for us. We will not be deserters! How could we treat Him so. For you and me, Christian, there is no surrender except to our Savior and King.