Posts Tagged ‘fellow christians’

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 all ready 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.

imagesIf I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.—1 Corinthians 13:3

In the early church some extremely gifted Christians were trapped in slavery. Because their lives were not their own, they were restricted in what they could do and how they could serve. Sometimes, one of their fellow Christians, observing this travesty, would exchange themselves for their gifted friends. They would become a slave in their place so these gifted people would be free to serve the church more effectively. When that happened, the mark of the branding iron was put on the new slave’s hand and his body was subjected to severe hardship.

We know it’s impossible to love without giving, but Paul reminds us that it is possible to give without loving. Paul describes a person who gets completely involved in social concerns. He gives of his purse and his person. And yet, without love, he gains nothing.

In a sense, that’s what Paul is saying about our gifts and sacrifices. Apart from love our gifts accomplish nothing, make us nothing, and gain us nothing. The essential ingredient in following Jesus, in using our gifts, and in any sacrifice—what the church and our neighborhoods need most—is love.

All this raises an important question: If love is the essential ingredient in life, what do we mean by love? We need to learn what love is, and what love does.

Last night I told someone that I have become way to pessimistic for my own liking because it’s been way to long since I’ve seen anything go right for me. It wasn’t 5 minutes after I said that when I got more bad I just cannot help but to shake my head and wonder why. It’s hard to tell most of my fellow Christians this because they’ll tell me of Job, and give me scripture of faith, some even suggesting this is all happening to me because of sin or lack of faith. The one very valuable lesson I’ve learned from all of this is how to be there for someone who is going through a lot. It’s best summed up by a wonderful woman of God who became a Quadriplegic after a diving accident. She said that people told her she was now a quad because of lack of faith or sin in her life. Her answer was, “Sometimes people don’t want an answer to why they’re going through something, they just want comfort.” What a beautiful sentiment.

If you know someone who is going through a lot, don’t try to give them strength, give them love. One of the many things I love about Jesus is that He would always LIVE the scripture He quoted. He didn’t tell you to hang in there and walk away. He told you to hang in there and healed or helped you.

My apologies for rambling this morning,  just needed to get it off my chest…:) Today my thought is…The truly happy person is the one who can enjoy the scenery even when he must take a detour.


Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.