Saturday, July 26, 2014

Peter Principle

Dear friends, don't be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through fire.

-- 1 Peter 4:12
The Peter Principle was a hypothesis introduced in 1969 by Dr. Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull. It proposed that in a hierarchy--such as a large corporation--every employee tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence. Dr. Peter also observed that work in an organization is actually accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.

If you've ever been a cubical dweller in Laddercorporate America or a fan of the comic strip Dilbert, you know that Dr. Peter was on to something. On the other hand, many people have legitimately worked their way through the ranks and earned their way to the top. But once they made it, it wasn't anything that they expected. Challenges arose, problems materialized and the limelight of prestige began to burn. That once sought-after corner office quickly became a hopeless place of tension and anxiety.

If opposition and distraction are what many people face once they reach the "top" (as the world defines it), what's it like for Christ-followers who strive for life's real measure of success: faithfulness to God? For the Lord's perspective on the matter, let's consider what we might call the 1 Peter Principle.  

The Bible teaches that those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior can also expect their fair share of opposition in this life. In fact, they can count on it. The key to enduring the onslaught while experiencing inner peace is learning how to recognize the opposition, and then turning it to an advantage while placing our hope in God.

It's important to understand that the opposition will always bring added challenges. But the life-long habits we develop as Christ-followers--such as consistent prayer and Bible study--will prove themselves worthwhile many times over. It's like a long-distance runner whose car has broken down in the middle of nowhere. That's a desperate situation for many people. But for those who have trained and prepared, that 5-mile jog to the nearest gas station is a mere inconvenience.

The challenges that Christ-followers face are also sure to bring testing. Maybe it's in the form of a layoff at work, an illness in the family or an unanticipated, budget-busting expense. Whatever it is, we can respond by either giving up...or by placing our faith in our Creator to see us through the storm. Real faith and hope will stand strong till the end. But what's false is bound to fail. As the Bible puts it, "blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him."

Is your faith-journey's ladder to the top shaky or rock-solid? And are you finding that the view from the top isn't what you expected? If so, maybe it's time to talk to The Boss:  

"I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give," Jesus reminds His followers. "It isn't like the peace that this world can give. So don't be worried or afraid."

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