Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking…
People, “all this following Christ” is going to be a battle. Every day you are going to be challenged to live for the will of God or live for the flesh. Peter is apt to point out two arenas where the battle will rage.
Out there –
The scattered church was just that, scattered, – taken out of their seemingly safe enclave of friendly neighborhoods and shot gunned all over Turkey. They are living among the gentiles who have no inclination to follow God.
How do you keep on track in such places? Think like Jesus. The world around you is going to set one example and it is going to be surprised when you don’t join them. That surprise is not benign but will lead to them to make fun of you, malign you and maybe hate your guts. Remember your calling to live in the spirit. I love Jen Hatmaker:
“People may hate us because of Jesus, but let’s never give them a reason to hate Jesus because of us.”
In here –
Oh you thought inside was safe? Ha!
Here is how to live in the family – within the community of believers: self-controlled, sober-minded – above all, loving one another earnestly, use your gifts to build each other up. I’m sorry, but this can be more of a battle than avoiding the gentiles. The answer is the same – arm yourselves for this work too.
It is not our nature to welcome suffering. Not having one’s own way, not being the center of attention, not seeing beyond one’s own hurt feelings – this is suffering too. This is laying down one’s life too.
Remember – the end of all things is at hand. Time is short here, eternity awaits, all struggling and suffering will cease. But for now, think like Jesus:
…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (and through me). To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.