Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2 ESV)
God really has me thinking with these verses. Peter wrote the book of 1 Peter to encourage fellow Christians, primarily persecuted Christians. When we become Christians, God calls us to die to sin and turn to life in Christ. In other words, as Jesus Christ suffered in the flesh and lived sinlessly, God calls us to do the same thing.
The word “suffered” sticks out to me while reading these Bible verses. Living sinlessly isn’t supposed to be easy. We all have things we struggle with, right?
Maybe drinking too much, pornography, over-eating, promiscuity, hate, adultery, un-forgiveness, and the list could go on eternally. What I find encouraging is that Christ suffered tremendously while on this earth. While remaining perfectly sinless, he was mocked, humiliated, tempted, beaten, and ultimately…murdered. Clearly, he experienced suffering in the highest degree. While we are on the earth, God expects us to suffer as he did. Choosing to refrain from sin is no doubt difficult, God already knows that. This is when the verses following start to get good:
For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. (1 Peter 4:3-6 ESV)
Isn’t this so true? When we are with a group of people making sinful choices, and we choose not to partake in the same activity, they are surprised and may even malign us. BUT, in that moment when we choose to suffer and die to our human desires, God rejoices! I believe there are few other things that give God greater pleasure than when we choose to follow him over sin. May you be encouraged to make decisions that honor Christ today.
What choice will you make today to suffer for Christ’s sake?