Thursday, October 16, 2008

1 Peter, Chapter 4

What does it mean to live for God? In our human capacity, I don’t know if it is possible to live fully for God. According to the standards we have seen not only in this chapter, but throughout the Bible, we cannot possibly do everything we need in order to live fully for God. That takes perfection. We cannot attain perfection even after we have received Christ. This is where the sheer grace of God shows its beauty. Despite the fact that we are asked to be perfect, yet cannot be, we are saved by that grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is a message I have repeated here dozens of times, but it never loses its beauty.

1Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life 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 think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, 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. 1 Peter 4:1-5

It is my sincere hope that there is a reason for this suffering. Many people go through periods where they experience some or all of what is mentioned in verse 3. I have been there. You eventually reach a point where all the joy that you are supposed to derive from those activities becomes hollow and unfulfilling. It’s not even suffering, but merely an emptiness that comes from pursuing nothing. If we stay there, we invite God’s judgment upon us. That is why we trust in Christ.

By trusting in Christ we avoid that judgment. We give our lives over to Him and he can accomplish amazing things in our imperfections. Even as I struggle daily with issues of depression and feelings of being worthless I see that Christ has accomplished much good in my life. The greatest thing I have ever experienced is not some basketball triumph of academic pursuit, but the fact that my wife is a believer in Christ because God used me to reach her. He placed me in her life. Because of that, another soul is saved for the kingdom.

19So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. – 1 Peter 4:19

This is our most important act in life. Lately I have been thinking of what my mission in life is. I feel like Christ has a specific plan for our lives. In that plan, there are specific missions we must accomplish before the next stage of the plan. Since getting turned down for the job offer I would have preferred last week, it has become clear to me that I am needed at this place I am working at this time in my life for a specific purpose. I don’t want to be here, but god clearly wants me here. To me, it is suffering. In it, I am trying to commit myself to God’s will so I can accomplish my mission here, whatever it may be.

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