March 15 - 1 Peter 4:1-6

Saturday, March 15, 2014

1 Peter 4:1-6 – Imitating Christ

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

Peter has just finished telling his readers that suffering is not a sign of weakness. Now, he asks us to arm ourselves with the same attitude that Christ had so that we can win the battle against a life of sin. He reminds us that we did all of those things in the past. We lived as the pagans – in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.

But, he goes on to say that the pagans don't understand a Christian's behavior, since we refuse to participate in their bad behavior.

I wonder what our world would look like right now if that were true.  What if Christians actually chose not to participate in that behavior and did so with gentleness and respect, rather than announcing to the world that they weren't going to be living detestably like the pagans do and then ... come to find out ... they are actually participating in secret.

There are many lifestyle choices we have to make as Christian. Do we choose to walk away from bad behavior because of God's calling? More often than not, our choice is rather to judge others.

What if living a pure life were a sure sign that you were a Christian and that was the only way someone could see who Christ really was? What if that were the standard that was set for a life lived in Jesus' name?  What if our attitude was such that we cared more about living as Christ calls us than we do about giving in to our own selfish desires?

Oh, these words convict me to the core.

Judgment is coming. We are judged according to men in regard to the body - but, we live according to God in regard to the spirit.

Mankind looks at each of us and judges us according to our behavior. If we are judged to be a non-Christian because of our actions, what will that do to the world - how will that affect people around us?

Holiness is living according to God in regard to the spirit.