Archive for October 29th, 2016

Arm Yourself

Sunrise in Key West

Sunrise in Key West

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin” (1 Peter 4:1 NIV).

This verse teaches about our attitude when we suffer for doing good. People who suffer for Christ do not live their lives for their own evil desires, but rather for the will of God. The Word goes on to say that you’ve spent enough time in the past doing what the pagans do — living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry.

When you commit to Christ, your friends will ask why you don’t join them in doing the things you used to do — living a loose and wild life. They will mock, make fun and accuse you of thinking you are a better person than they. Do you? Check your heart. If you think Christians are better than pagans then you suffer from pride and have earned their scorn and suspicion. Even after correcting your attitude of superiority your friends may continue to abuse you. They don’t understand that one day all of us will have to give an account to God.

Hebrews 12:2 states, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” This verse always perplexed me when I thought about Jesus considering ‘the joy set before him’ as He suffered. His joy could have only been for the reconciliation of man with God. And what a debt we owe Him.

Most Americans don’t understand much about the attitude of suffering in our physical bodies beyond verbal and emotional abuse. Not that this isn’t painful, it can be very much so. But, still, our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world are being physically persecuted every day in increasing numbers. These believers can teach us how to handle such abuse.

This verse explains it. We arm ourselves with the attitude that this must happen for God to be glorified. As our attitude shifts from protecting the body to accepting the situation and using it to glorify God, something wonderful occurs. We are done with sin. Imagine that ― done with sin. “Whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”
Arm yourself with the same attitude as Christ. If suffering comes, accept it. If opportunities to serve others come, embrace them. Be sober minded so you can pray. Love others deeply. Serve others with the gifts God has bestowed upon you.

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever” (1 Peter 4:11).

Christian martyrs throughout the ages have gone through torture and horrible deaths with attitudes that echoed the very words of Christ on the cross ― “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Surely we can duplicate that same attitude when our trials are, to a great extent, less than theirs. Let us arm ourselves with Christ’s attitude and be done with sin.

Father in Heaven, I am weak, but You are strong. My desire is to be in Your will at all times. Help me to keep my eyes on Jesus in times of persecution. I need Your strength and peace to persevere. Amen.

This is an excerpt from the forty-day devotional, “Attitude Matters”. Click here to order.

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