The thing that sucks most about sin, is the fact that your flesh enjoys it…
Like..literally, from the days of Adam and Eve, this fact has remained true.
Eve ate from the forbidden tree when she saw that “the tree was good, delightful to the eyes and to be desired to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6).
I.e., Prior to sinning, Eve saw this course of action as a good thing for her body.
For the most part, we don’t struggle with sin because we “actively” seek to dishonour God. We rather struggle with sin because we are deceived by it’s goodness (which coincidentally dishonours God, because his instructions are ultimately good for us…but that’s another blog).
Fortunately, scripture is not oblivious to this fact and provides us with a helpful tip against fighting the desire to sin.
What does this passage imply when it states “the same way of thinking”
What way of thinking is it referring to?
Answer: The way of suffering in the flesh.
How can we be sure of this?
Re-read the text above and notice how the terms “suffering in the flesh” hamburger the statement “arm yourselves with the same of thinking”
P.s, I know I totally used the word “hamburger” as a verb, but if you see the text again below you’ll understand.
What does it mean to suffer in the flesh?
In the previous chapter (primarily 1 Peter 3:8-22), the Bible encourages believers to embrace suffering for the sake of righteousness, just like Christ did.
This is why chapter 4 begins with the words “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh…”.
Coincidentally, one of many ways that Christ suffered in the flesh, was that of temptation.
Practically, what does this mean?
Despite the fact that Christ never sinned, He endured hardship in the midst of temptation.
Example #1, in the wilderness when Satan tempted Jesus to break his fast, scripture clearly mentions that He was hungry (Matthew 4:2). In other words, Christ did not lack human sense in the midst of sin.
Like you and I, where there was lack of food, Christ experienced hunger.
Let’s push this even further.
I want you to think of the greatest sin/ temptation you are currently struggling with.
Thought about it? Good.
Whatever sin/ temptation you’ve brought to mind, Christ has been tempted by it.
Don’t take my word on it though —> Hebrews 4:13-16
I hope this reality settles in your mind.
- Jesus Christ never sinned.
- Jesus Christ has been tempted in every respect as we are.
- He suffered in temptation (he endured hardship/ underwent pain in the midst of battling sin).
All this to say suffering in the flesh for the sake of sin = to endure the hardship of not giving in to our body’s sinful appetite to disobey God.
Whether you are a believer of 5 months or 25 years, in the midst of sin you will endure the hardship of temptation.
Becoming a Christian does not mean you’re immune to the sinfulness surrounding you. Being oblivious to this reality however, is dangerous, hence the necessity for us to “arm ourselves” with this way of thinking.
Why does this Matter?
The Bible emphasizes on two essential characteristics for the Christian who develops this mind set of suffering.
- They have ceased (i.e., quit) from sin.
- They live no longer for human passions but for the will of God
Therefore, those who arm themselves with the mindset of suffering will experience greater victory over their sin compared to those who do not.
Okay so practically, what does this look like?
1. Don’t be Oblivious to your weakness.
Accept the affliction to your flesh. Your conversion does NOT eliminate the reality of your temptation. It eliminates your sin through the FINISHED work of Christ Jesus (read that again).
To put it plainly, you’ll probably be sexually frustrated for not sleeping with that girl.
You’ll probably be socially frustrated when you’re sober at a party in the midst of your friends who are piss drunk.
You’ll probably want to cuss at or (God forbid) hurt the individual that you are trying to forgive.
Scripture is telling us that we do ourselves a disservice when we fail to acknowledge these hardships.
2. Know that Christ understands your Suffering
Just wanted to re-emphasize on the truths from Hebrews 4:15. Jesus has been tempted in every way that we can imagine.
For this reason, we can genuinely trust his empathy. Don’t hide the reality of your temptation in times of prayer. Bring it before Him in complete confidence.
3. Trust in the Promises from 1 Peter 4:1-2
Meditate on these truths.
whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin
you will grow out of your desire to live for human passions but rather live for the will of God.
Your suffering is not in vain. If you are truly a child of God, He will continue to sanctify you until the day Christ returns. You are not a lost cause, your heart will desire His ways.
And in case you forget, let me right this 3 times.
Turn it into a song if you have to.
Christ empathizes with your suffering, be vulnerable in your confession.
Christ empathizes with your suffering, be vulnerable in your confession !!!
Christ empathizes with your suffering, be vulnerable in your confession !!!!!
He is good, He is faithful and He is alive.
Soli Deo Gloria