1Pe 4:1 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,
1Pe 4:2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (ESV)
Over the past few weeks in our Sunday morning Bible Study class, the leader has been taking us through the various “roles” of Christ as seen in scripture. He calls it “Christ in 3D”. It’s an interesting study and he is a very good instructor.
Last week and this week we were discussing the role of Christ as “priest”. The emphasis was on the priest’s function as an intermediary between the people and God. As part of that conversation, having a priest that could “identify” with our temptations was important. Not just from an empathetic standpoint, but a sympathetic standpoint. In other words, not a priest who says “I have not been there but I feel your temptations”; rather one who can say “I have been there and I know your temptations”. Jesus was such a priest.
Peter emphasizes this in these verses. We can identify with Christ sufferings not because he experienced them as “divine” but rather that he experienced them “in the flesh”. Christ apparently had the same internal battle’s in the heart, the same back and forth conversations in the mind, and the same reaching out and drawing back of the “flesh” that you and I do. And because he did, we have a Savior that knows exactly what we are dealing with every day.
Therefore, Peter says…”Arm yourselves with the same way of thinking” (same intention). As Christ resisted, not to live for human desires, but “for the will of God”, so too should we. Our desire, our intention, our way of thinking motivates us to live this earthly life, not for our own gratification, but for the fulfilling of the will of God in our lives.
What a powerful concept. What a challenge. It is when we are suffering, that is, struggling with temptation that we know we are, in a sense freeing ourselves from sin. Otherwise, it would not be struggle. And our model, our source of encouragement and strength is the very one we call Lord and Savior. One who identifies with every anxious moment as we hang suspended between the “yes and no” of temptations pull.
These verses were liberating for me. They helped me to see from a new perspective what the author of Hebrews was saying when he talked about our High Priest being “…tested in every respect as we are, yet without sin.” I found a new level of awareness, a new plateau of understanding. A new strength for my own spiritual conflicts.
Thank you Father for the freshness of Your Word. For the way it speaks to me and uncovers my needs in terms I was not expecting. Through Christ, may I find the like-mindedness to no longer live by my desires but by and for Your perfect will. In Jesus Name.