Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh [and died for us], arm yourselves [like warriors] with the same purpose [being willing to suffer for doing what is right and pleasing God], because whoever has suffered in the flesh [being like-minded with Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [having stopped pleasing the world], so that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living for human appetites and desires, but [lives] for the will and purpose of God.1 Peter 4:1-2 AMP
Are you like me? Did you spend much of your life satisfying your own human appetites and desires? Were you motivated by selfish ambition? Did you think your life was your own to do with what you pleased? That’s what happens when you don’t know God.
Are you like me? Did you start off with zeal and love for God only to get sidetracked by religion and the deceptive doctrine of demons? Did worldliness creep into your faith and leave you double-minded, unstable in all your ways? That’s what happens when you think your works make you acceptable to God. You focus on results instead of relationships.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the world is obsessed with temporary things and God is concerned with eternal relationships. The Good News is that Jesus has repaired the breach. Our sin, inherited from the beginning, separates us from God. The blood of Jesus cleanses us of all sin.
There was a time when sin satisfied us. We revelled in it. We celebrated it. We thought evil was good. Then God opened our eyes. He gave us a revelation of who He is, who we are, and what sin does to our hearts.
Sin is toxic. It leads to death. It is infectious. Stay as far away from sin as possible. It’s a miracle that God can redeem us from our sinful condition.
Judgement starts first at the house of God. God is purging His children of sin, worldliness, pride, selfishness and greed. Those who He chose are passing through a fire. The fire burns up the contaminates and what remains will be made holy.
There is one cure for all that ails us: the presence of God. We are in a time of trial and testing. During the trial it can seem like God is far from us. Yet, we know from Scripture that we will suffer for the sake of righteousness. It is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
It is in these times of suffering that we are aware of who or what we have placed our trust and confidence in. Place no trust in the flesh, it will deceive you with its lusts. Our confidence is in the Lord, the One who saves us.
Where does our comfort come from? From the things of this world? Things that are consumed? Or from the Holy Spirit of God which indwells us and speaks of what it hears from the Father?
Do you feel the tension? Are you more keenly aware of your shortcomings than ever before? Do you notice the darkness waiting to devour you when you step off the path of righteousness? Good. That means God is refining you. He is giving you a greater sensitivity to what pleases Him and what He finds abhorrent.
Do not be afraid. God disciplines His children because He loves them and He wants them to grow up and be mature. He wants you to become just like Him in love, character and deed. It’s not all just empty talk and feel good promises from the Word of God. God will prepare a people for Himself.
Perhaps you’re feeling depressed or disillusioned with the way of the world. That’s okay. Sometimes we grieve the loss of our illusions. There is a better day coming. When we humble ourselves and seek God’s will and purpose, He will answer.
God’s will is always better than anything we could dream up on our own. Who would have thought that God would rescue His enemies? That His grace would be sufficient? That His mercy and forgiveness would never fail? That He would use us to do His will on Earth? It boggles the mind!
Now is the time to surrender. Quit fighting God’s will. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Trust God in the midst of the storm. Believe that His plan and purpose are perfect. Lay down your agenda and pick up your cross.
We are an orchestra and God is the conductor. Instead of striving for a solo, aim for harmony. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. We cannot be filled with God if we are full of ourselves.
This is the time to humble yourself or you will be humiliated. God cannot fail. God cannot lie. If you need encouragement, read the Bible. Renew your mind with the truth of God’s Word. Everything that has been prophesied will come to pass. You can trust God. He’ll never leave you nor forsake you. Not even in the midst of the fire.
Be blessed in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.