1 Peter 4:1-6:
“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.”
In the midst of suffering, we are often tempted to revert to our former way(s) of life. Yet, the saving work of God tenaciously refuses to leave us in such futility. He transforms every soul that He saves–even when the purification is best accomplished by the providential furnace of His persevering love (1 Peter 1:3-9). There has never been a more beautiful, though seemingly brutish, sort of love. The mysterious beauty of divine love is that suffering typically precedes the sweetness that it procures. This was the reality of Christ’s death for us in the pursuit of His Father’s glory; and much will be the same for us when we endeavor to follow in His footsteps. As we share in the sufferings of Christ, we incarnate His love as “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1). May we suffer and die well as we remember that He alone is our Life.
This past weekend, my pastor gave the following points of application when faced with the peer pressure of returning to former passions:
1. Remember WHOSE you are.
We belong to Jesus ,the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross….
2. Remember your motivation.
We live to honor Christ rather than self.
3. Ask God for help… Employ the means that He’s given.
The Word of God is our sword and the prayer of Faith is our shield of defense!
The Body of Christ are our fellow soldiers who provide support, accountability, and love.
4. For those who have fallen back into their former ways…
A. Remember what Christ has already done and that He has secured God’s love and forgiveness for you. You’re accepted in Christ, not in and of yourself.
B. Confess your sin to God and fellow believers as you repent of it.
C. Get into God’s word and get God’s word into you.
D. Pursue open, honest transparency with others in spiritual community.
5. When others are struggling, come alongside them and offer: Humility, Hope, and Help.
Humility: You’re capable of sinning in the same way, if not worse, given the right opportunity.
Hope: God’s saving love has the power to change and restore even the worst of sinners.
Help: God’s people need one another to stir up and minister His sanctifying grace to one another in time of need.