Time for a new devotional series! Let’s delve into some of Peter’s first letter, written probably around the year 60 by Peter, with the help of Silas. Peter writes to the Jewish and Gentile Christians scattered throughout much of Asia Minor. Over the next weeks we’ll be looking at 1 Peter 4:1–11 in depth:
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For 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.
7The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude… 1 Peter 4:1
The sight arrested me. The angels I was used to seeing were cute and cuddly – babies with smiling faces. This angel was no baby, but a skull with wings below it.
My first visit to Rome imparted many rich memories, but the image of that angel made a lasting impression. For in our sanitized Western world, we often are shielded from the realities of suffering and death. For instance, when a member of our family dies, we no longer lay them out in our front rooms. Nor do as many women die from giving birth (thankfully). But all the people I’ve met have suffered in one way or another, and one day we all will die.
So although we run from suffering and death, how can we yet be like Christ? Peter tells us to arm ourselves with Christ’s attitude, that our suffering may be the means of us being done with sin. As we turn to God in our pain and confusion, he transforms us. He may not relieve the situation we find ourselves in, but his loves changes us, including our perspective. He gives us strength and hope to persevere.
How can Christ meet you today in any suffering you might be enduring, whether physical or emotional? Look to him for relief and sustenance.
Prayer: Lord God, we run to you with our fears, hurts and disappointments. When we suffer, relieve us. Amen.