April 8th

Attitude of Christ 

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. 6For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.  1 Peter 4:1-6 NIV 

In this passage Peter explained the attitude we are to approach life with.  The question we can ask ourselves is, “Have we spent enough time living in fleshing lusts like the rest of the world?”  There are so many sources of temptation that bombard most of us every day.  It can be easy for us to get carried away by these temptations, such that we’re spending our time pursuing lust instead of the will of God.   

God calls each of us to the same attitude that Jesus had when he faced temptations on earth.  Jesus resisted temptation to the point of suffering…suffering to the point of death.   In order to have the same attitude toward temptation, we will undoubted endure suffering to some extent.   Peter wrote, “he who has suffered in his body is done with sin."  Though suffering may not be what we want to go through, we can take joy in the promise that if we suffer we will be done with sin.   

What kind of suffering might we expect to go through?   At the very least, we will suffer “withdrawal pains” from ceasing sinful habits we’ve been practicing.  In other words, it will be difficult to say "no" to the temptations that we’ve always given into.  For example, we may find it painful to stop masturbating, or to stop looking at people lustfully, or to stop going to R-rated movies, or to stop visiting favorite porn sites.  Because we had been giving in to such temptations, our strength to resist will be low at first.  As we decide to resist and endure the pain, we will grow stronger.   

The analogy of spiritual weight lifting helps illustrate the strength-building process.  In working out with weights, our bodies experience some pain while we exercise them in order to make them stronger. The exercise is not bad for the body and in fact the pain can indicate that we are getting to the areas that need to be strengthened. The result is that we are able to lift more weight for longer periods of time a few days later.   Our spiritual muscles act the same way as they work against the resistance of our sinful nature.   Resisting temptation is a “spiritual-muscle-building” exercise.  Paul wrote, “Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things(1 Timothy 4:7-8).  As we exercise ourselves toward godliness, we’ll be able to better reject the temptations that come our way and live for the will of God consistently.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Father in Heaven, Thank you for sending Jesus as the example for me to follow. Thank you that I have the mind of Christ and can adopt the same attitude he had toward sin.  I confess that I have not resisted temptations in the past as I should have.  Please forgive me, Lord.  I commit myself now to having the same attitude as Jesus had toward sin. Please strengthen me to die to sin and live for righteousness.  Please strengthen me to endure any suffering that may result.  Thank you, Father!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”