1 Peter 4:1-19
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “LOVE WILL COVER A MULTITUDE OF SINS.”
9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18 Now “IF THE RIGHTEOUS ONE IS SCARCELY SAVED, WHERE WILL THE UNGODLY AND THE SINNER APPEAR?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
There is a way of life that will rightfully demonstrate the effect of Christ’s victory over sin and death. For our remaining time on this earth, we will occupy these bodies of flesh that will be susceptible to its cravings, pressures, and trials. Rather than folding to the sensitivities of the flesh and yielding to the conforming force of the world, we can actually use what could otherwise crush and overwhelm to strengthen and arm us against becoming our oppression. The very power we’ve been given over sin gets its greatest demonstration in the midst of its greatest opposition. Avoiding conflict and living in unopposed peace has nothing to do with overcoming. Instead, there is an opportunity to let their be an identification with Christ that is emblazoned on the heart with each attack, driving us closer to the reality of who we are in Him. This will enable the passionate love that always goes with this sacrificing of self. With every suffering of Christ, there was a direct demonstration and activation of His love. Although He showed great compassion and giving in the miracles He performed, it was in His suffering, the laying down of His own life, that His love was truly known. With each endured trial there can be for us an enduring that is driven by this same love. It makes a difference that we don’t give in. There is a heart and life that will be loved and cared for by us precisely because we have not chosen to be discouraged, overwhelmed, and submitted to the very thing we’ve been given victory over.
His victory is complete over every fiery trial He encountered for us, and this has equipped us with the same triumph over everything we encounter. This will come strategically in various forms that might not appear that obvious, but are yet very insidious and destructive. Simple pressures to give in to discouragement and rejection are sufferings of the flesh that must not be allowed to conform us to the identity of the crushed victim. Offerings from the world for soulish comforts and entertainment can be some of the most effective at leading from a heart set apart to Him. Every choice of suffering flesh will enable the following of Christ that is filled with a sure hope of eternal rewards.