Friday, May 26, 2017

Armed for what is ahead

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1Peter 4:1-19

TO CHEW ON: “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” - 1 Peter 4:1.

“So, since Christ suffered in the flesh [for us, for you], arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] has done with intentional sin—has stopped pleasing himself and the world and pleases God.” 1 Peter 4:1 AMP

Three ideas hit me as I read this passage today:

1. We need to arm ourselves with thoughts and purpose. 

2. We arm ourselves to suffer. 

3. This suffering comes from fellow citizens.

A little further along from our focus verse in the reading, Peter connects our suffering with those who cause it: "they" (1 Peter 4:4)—the friends, neighbours, colleagues and superiors who we formerly hung out with but don't any more because we now live by different priorities. Their astonishment at our Christ-centred lifestyle plays out in animosity and attempts to get us to join them in their activities of “shameless, insolent wantonness, in lustful desires, drunkenness, reveling, drinking bouts, and abominable, lawless idolatries" - 1 Peter 4:3 AMP.

A few days ago my nephew and his family came to Canada for a short furlough from ministry in Uganda. His Rwandan-born wife told of her experience that sounds a lot like 1 Peter 4.

After a childhood upbringing in a Ugandan orphanage, she enrolled in a large institution to train in the hospitality industry. As a young woman of Christian honesty, integrity, and courage, she quickly rose to become a student leader. This made her a target and someone to be brought down.

Classmates spread lies about her, trying to sully her reputation so she would be expelled. They stole her notes and textbooks so she couldn’t study. Someone even attempted to poison her. When a teacher told her she would fail all her 21 subjects, she said, “Madame, if I fail, the God I serve is not real. But I will not fail any of my subjects, except French.”

Months later she got her results. She passed every subject—except French.

Even still, about seventeen years after these events, her life of faithfulness to her husband and his to her is a source of disbelief and disdain to those around them.

We as Christians in Canada are accustomed to living in sync with our society. However, as it strays from Bible standards of right and wrong, we find ourselves increasingly at odds with it. 

The thought of preparing for this, of arming ourselves with the expectation that we will suffer (with an idea of what it might  actually look like) and the resolve to live the Jesus way no matter what the people in our lives say or do to us, is timely.

Dear Jesus, please help me to live to please You above everyone else, no matter what it costs. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible. Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (

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