|1 Peter 4:1-2 |
1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind because he who has suffered in the flesh is finished with sin,
2 So that you should not live the rest of your time in the flesh in the lusts of men, but [live] to the will of God.1
1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so that he should not live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. When he deems you ready, you enter tribulation. This is part of the cross, to destroy the sinful nature within you through suffering. This produces patience, forgiveness, faith, long-suffering, trust, humility, and even hope; for even pain can be reassuring of his love: "Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff comfort me."
Below is an explanation of how suffering helps you to become rid of sin.
When Adam fell in the garden, (he had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), he began to think for himself, deciding what was good and bad; instead of relying on the direction of God, Adam began to rely on his own mind, deciding for himself what was good and bad. From then on the thoughts and decisions of men's minds and imaginations directed their life; but the imagination of man is evil and the carnal mind of man is enmity with God and incapable of submitting to the Law of God, Rom 8:7, and so they must be eliminated by crucifixion on the inward cross of self-denial and renewed to become the mind of Christ.
When God allows pain and suffering to be applied to us, our carnal minds scream BAD!!!; our impulse is to be offended and recoil away from it. However, if we have been prepared by the Lord to expect pain and suffering as part of the way to be rid of sin, then in faith we deny our mind. We submit to the will of God in faith; in this way we are living by faith, rather than our own selfish will: "the just (or righteous) shall live by faith," Gal 3:11. The more we live by faith, the less we live by our sinful, selfish nature; until finally that sinful nature is dead, and we totally live by faith.
After we have persistently denied our impulse to be offended and run under duress, instead by quietly submitting to the pain and suffering, submission to the will of God then is very easy in normal circumstances. Our faith has been tested; and we are proven trustworthy of remaining faithful to Him in all circumstances, which is necessary before we are qualified to receive the true treasure.
But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. Mat 7:14 (Tribulation and suffering are the pressure; as you approach the gate, the pressure intensifies). Tribulation is not a hard day at the office, a car wreck, a death in the family, a divorce, or some natural difficulty; it is unmistakably, supernaturally imposed.
For this suffering to be effective, you must realize three things:
1) It is supernaturally imposed. It is not some natural disease. It cannot be cured. It cannot be stopped by anything you do.
2) Despite the afflictions to your body, no harm will result — except to your selfish, sinful nature.
3) It is pleasing to God for you to undergo suffering because you are laying down your life for him — the one true sacrifice.
I realize this is extremely strange and foreign to most readers. But remember, Jesus said to Peter: Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him, that he might sift you like grain. They were all turned over to Satan for testing. Satan will be allowed to test and sift you, (a slow process), as well as inflict suffering upon you to test, try, and develop love within you. When you can suffer with faith that the suffering is your cross, but nowhere as painful as the cross of Jesus; then your pain is far, far less. This is the Ministry of Condemnation that destroys the carnal mind, which is enmity with God for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. Rom 8:7. From the word of the Lord within: "Trust Him. He will lead you and watch over you continually. He will never leave you." Tribulation is the major part of the crucifixion of your lusts and affections. The same sufferings are being experienced by all your brothers in the world. 1 Pet 5:9. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Rom 8:18.
From the Word of the Lord within:
- In the time of the enemy, there are difficult things to endure; despise not the cross.
- Any of you whose sting to bear has been hard, use these facts:
- all have suffered before you;
- sin is excoriated;
- God will remove the burden in time; and
- the same is experienced by every cleanliness-desired heart in the nations.
- Therefore, for the several cases, we wish you well when you suffer.
- Take no offence; do not be offended at anything.
- Through patient endurance do you possess your souls.
- Either pain in this life or the next.
- Don't ever complain.
- Stand fast in the faith.
- Never give up, no matter how good it feels looking back.
- Take no thought of yourself.
- It is blind to give up, knowing the will of God.
- Don't even think about giving up.
- Let patience have its perfect work.
- Remain faithful to the promises.
- Doubt not, faint not, forget not.
- Accept everything; take offence at nothing; just sit and wait.