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, 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.
—1 Peter 4:1–2
I like how the New Living Translation phrases the end of verse 1: “For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning.” If we were to look at the whole of Scripture, we would be amazed at how often the mind is brought into the equation of living for God. This tells us that the life of walking in the Spirit begins in the mind. We can be Spirit filled yet still need to make up our minds that we are going to be Spirit led. Being indwelt by the Holy Spirit does not make us some kind of zombie-like follower of God; we still must choose to be led by the Spirit and decide in our minds that we are going to follow the Spirit.
Peter here identifies a major area in which the mind plays an important role, and that is the area of suffering. We cannot ignore the link between suffering and ceasing to sin. I think we all would be stunned if we recognized how often peer pressure is involved in leading us to sin, whether it is doing something wrong or not doing something right. The reason is that the flesh longs for acceptance and never chooses rejection. But if we are armed with the same mind as Christ, we will suffer for standing against sin when necessary. Whether that means being the outcast at school or the wacko at work “who thinks he is better than everyone else” (in other people’s words), we must be willing to choose suffering if we are going to be like Christ.
The type of suffering Peter was referring to here is far greater than anything most of us have ever endured; it was the suffering of torture and death for living openly as a Christian. That kind of puts a little ridicule and not being part of the in crowd in a different perspective, doesn’t it?
We must awake each day with the decision to follow the Spirit and live by the Word regardless of the response this elicits from others. Deciding not to sin will generate suffering, and we need to know that and be willing to accept it. It all begins with the mind-set of not living for the lusts and desires of unsaved men and women.
Make up your mind today that sins of commission and sins of omission are not going to be your master. Don’t join in the talk about the boss, and don’t fall prey to the pressure to attend the party. Make the decision to suffer the consequences of doing right rather than the consequences of doing wrong. Live today for the will of God!
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