LINK: 1 Peter 4
Continuing the theme at the end of 1 Peter 3, this chapter gives instructions to Christians, using Jesus as an example, on how to live in a world that is often hostile.
The Lord Jesus came and lived and died and rose again for us. This has practical bearing on me (and you, if you have trusted in Him). He died not only a physical death, but He died to His own human desires and will. Instead of living the way those around Him lived, He lived for the will of the Father. Those of us who have trusted in His death and resurrection for wholeness, for forgiveness, for life. are to "arm ourselves with the same way of thinking"(v 1) - that we are done living for our own desires and passions, and that we now have a new passion - to live for God. Instead of living for myself, I live "by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. ... (1 Peter 4:11 ESV)
Having this mindset changes the way we view life, the way we live life.
Matthew Henry put it this way: " ... True Christians make the will of God, not their own lust or desires, the rule of their lives and actions. And true conversion makes a marvelous change in the heart and life. It alters the mind, judgment, affections, and conversation."
Whatever we do, we are to have the attitude of Jesus, that we live and exist for God's glory, not our own. That's how we can offer hospitality without grumbling and love others even when they sin against us. Our actions for others, our lives in this world are motivated by a desire to live for God's pleasure. As He forgave us, we forgive others. As He loves us, so we are to love others. He gave us our gifts for His glory, not our own.
Living in that mindset will help us when we do suffer for doing right, when we face trials because we follow Jesus. We shouldn't be surprised at suffering! Jesus suffered, and we are His. The end of the chapter points out, though, that there is a difference between suffering for doing what is right and suffering for doing what is wrong. This chapter speaks about our attitude when we suffer while doing what pleases the LORD, not when we suffer for our own wrongdoing.
"Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good." (1 Peter 4:19 ESV)
What is my reason for doing good? Is it so that I will look good and be liked? Or is it because I love God and want to give Him pleasure?
When I suffer, when trials come and life gets tough, do I pout because I'm not getting my way? Do I blame God and quit living for Him? Do I give up doing what is good or do I trust myself to my faithful Creator and keep on keeping on - continue trying to please Him?
These are the questions I'm asking myself after reading this passage. What are you asking yourself? Is this Word of God affecting how we live?
May you be glorified, Lord, as we live in and through Jesus. Help us to live for your pleasure, not our own. Please strengthen us to continue to do keep doing what is good even as we entrust ourselves to you, our faithful Creator.