Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body has finished with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
1 Peter 4:1-2; 4:16(NIV)
Read: 1 Peter 4:1-19
Consider: Today’s reading in 1 Peter starts with the exhortation ‘… arm yourselves also with the same attitude …’ as Christ (1 Peter 4:1). What is this attitude that Peter speaks of? Look back to 1 Peter 3:17-18 where we read: For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than doing evil. For Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. Peter is speaking of the life that is based around the will of God, no matter where it leads and no matter where it ends. Peter is not exhorting us to die in the way Jesus died; rather he wants us to follow Jesus’ example in submitting to the will of God.
Look at how Peter describes the former life of some of the believers: For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry (4:3). When a person accepts Christ as their Lord and Saviour, they leave their former life behind and enter a new life that seeks to please God. Do you recognise this in yourself? What changes have taken place in your life since you were converted? Some people relate to this change because their conversion was dramatic, even if not quite as dramatic as Paul’s conversion on the Damascus road. Others may have had a more gradual conversion, but if they look back they should be able to see many gradual changes that have taken place in their lives. Peter tells his readers that the outcome of conversion is that, as believers, we should no longer live to satisfy our evil human desires, but seek to do God’s will.
Later in today’s reading Peter says: If anyone speaks, they should do so as the one who speaks the very words of God (4:11). This links to something we spoke about a couple of days ago in the post entitled, ‘We must take Bible teaching seriously’. This is another reminder that when we speak of Christ and share the good news, we should speak the ‘very words of God’. It is concerning when someone who should share the truth chooses to share teaching that is contrary to the Word of God. This can happen when a person sees their interpretation of Scripture as having equal or higher authority than the Bible. It can also happen when a denomination, church or an individual seeks to bend God’s Word to fit in with the standards of the world and its moral values.
Do not conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
Pray: Father, develop the mind of Christ in us, so that our will is in line with your will. We pray for those who bend the truth so as to make the gospel message more palatable to the world; we ask that you would convict them of their error and draw them back to you. Amen