1Since 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,2so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. —1 Peter 4:1-3
First Peter 4:1 commands, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking.” Arm yourself is a military term that means get ready for battle. Put your armor on.
Jesus was always talking about, “My time has not yet come” (John 7:6). He knew where this was all going to end up. Forget the faulty idea Jesus just sort of ended up on the cross. He was in perfect control of every situation at every moment. We understand that Jesus couldcall “more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:53) to rescue Him, but Jesus went to the cross. He turned His face to Jerusalem and headed there. He knew exactly what was waiting for Him and He went anyway. He willed Himself to be our sacrifice.
We need to arm ourselves with the same mentality. My mind-set must be: I’m going to get through this. I’m not surprised by it. God has this planned for me, so I’m staying under it! I’m not scratching my head asking, “How come I’m going through hard times?” I’m one of God’s children and “the Lord disciplines the one he loves” (Hebrews 12:6). Arm yourself with the right mentality.
Returning to 1 Peter, we’re told,“For whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (v.1).This phrase has caused some real confusion. Some people say this proves Jesus was only sinless after He went to the cross. But the Bible is categorical about the fact Jesus was without sin, saying, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Some people say that means when I’m suffering I won’t sin. Yeah, put that one in the wish-it-was-true category. Sadly, the opposite is more likely the case. Often when we’re going through difficult times, we are more vulnerable to sin. You stand at a crossroads and either get bitter or get better. Trials present a watershed moment.
A better translation of “For whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” includes the idea of being restrained. God desires that suffering would make you a better man or woman. He wants to use this in your life. Though temptation to sin can sometimes be heightened in trials, trials can make you more focused in your walk with Christ.—James MacDonald
· What specific actions am I taking in my spiritual life to guard myself in preparation for trials and warfare?
· What’s the difference between getting bitter and getting better when going through trials?
Prayer: Father, I need Your Spirit’s continual reminders to guard my heart and mind. Thank You for the rich resource of Your Word with which to arm myself. And thank You for making it possible starting at any moment, in any place, to choose to get better instead of getting bitter. I praise You always for Your faithfulness to me in allowing me to live as Your child. In Jesus’ name, Amen.