“Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lust of men, but for the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1-2
With all that is going on around us right now we have a desperate need to hear the pure Word of God. It pierces through as a double edged sword and rightly divides what is flesh and spirit. (Hebrews 4:12) Remember your flesh is always going to be in opposition to the Spirit. (Galatians 5:17) As we take a close look at our verses today let us sift our lives through Peter’s admonition. Are you claiming to be a Christian or are you a religious person? There is an extreme difference. Religious people aren’t willing to suffer for their faith and they often kill people who are willing to die for theirs as they did Jesus, the Son of God.
Peter was defined as a bondslave of Christ. We all have a free will and God will never force His way in your life. You must always choose. The majority of professing Christians remain babes in Christ. They refuse to grow up and remain in the elementary teachings. They aren’t willing to give, but only take. They only want what comes without paying a price like most of our society today. Look around you. Help is needed everywhere, because no one is willing to work if they can get something for nothing. The big crowds followed Jesus as long as He was feeding them and healing them. They like salvation because it is free, but to become a true disciple or bondslave, very few are willing. Yet scripture is clear about what it means to become a bondslave of Christ.
Peter tells us to look to Christ’s example paying the ultimate price of crucifixion to fulfill the will of the Father for our sakes. Then we are instructed plainly to arm ourselves with the same purpose. We so seldom hear from our pulpits the whole truth of the Word of God. Pastors are more about man’s interest rather than God’s. Peter was an example of that. Let us look at Mark 8:11-35:
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he was stating the matter plainly, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke Him. But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said,
“Get behind me satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, He must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
Obviously Peter was faced with the same decisions we are on a daily, moment by moment basis – whether to please his flesh or walk in the Spirit. He had to die to his ways of thinking to receive the mind of Christ. He is not asking you to do anything he didn’t live out himself just as His Savior did. Yes, there is great pain to our flesh to follow Christ, but we don’t lose life; we gain life just as Peter did. In scripture we watch Peter evolve from a prideful, selfish, self willed man to an ultimate servant of others as he chose not to please himself or man, but His Lord. He went from fearing the consequences of being a disciple of Christ so much He denied His Lord, the very thing he boasted he would never do, (Mark 14:31) to penning the letters we are now reading in our Bibles. History also records Peter’s life ended in total victory as a bondslave of Christ who was crucified upside down, because he did not consider Himself worthy to be crucified as His Lord! Here is the reality of what he lived when he penned:
“…because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lust of men, but for the will of God.”
May I encourage you as I am myself with the whole counsel of God’s Word to arm ourselves with the same purpose as Peter asked. We have nothing to lose in comparison with what we have to gain.
Paul had been zealous in murdering Christians believing he was right in his religious state, and scripture tells us God spoke to Ananias in Acts 9:15-16 to confront Paul:
But The Lord said to him,
“Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; I will show him how much he is to suffer for My name’s sake.”
As you can see with me the Bible tells all with nothing hidden about the lives that were used mightily by God. They were just everyday ordinary, imperfect people who chose to be set free from the dominion of sin in their life as they armed themselves for the purpose of fulfilling God’s will with their lives. Paul writes in Romans 8:18:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
May we prayerfully consider the meat of the Word of God and choose to obey as Peter and Paul did to love God alone above all else, because He and His will for our lives is so worthy. It determines our eternal future and a lot of other people’s we encounter on a daily basis.
In His love.
“I will lift my eyes unto the mountains from whence cometh my help. My help comes from the Lord – always.”
How I needed God’s help every mile to complete the Grandfather 25k Trail Run. Photos from the run.