A WHOLE NEW OUTLOOK
Lord, I turn to You today in all my weakness. Give me the fortitude to live my life for You.
Read 1 Peter 4:1–11
Living for God
4 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For 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.
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If 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.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhat is the paradigm shift that has taken place in the lives of these new believers?
Jesus suffered in his body because of our sin. Peter now urges his readers to align their thinking with the attitude of Jesus and be done with sin. When we are accepted and washed clean by the Lord Jesus, doing the will of God becomes our priority. How does Peter describe the old way of life (3,4)?
Unrestrained pleasure-seeking marks many cultures today, and it can be difficult as Christians to live with different priorities, particularly in the face of hostility (4).
We have a whole new outlook on life because we are now part of a whole new world (7). As we share in Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are called to work out what that means for how we live. How does alertness and sober thinking affect your praying (7)?
Peter describes life in the community of believers, echoing what Paul writes in some of his letters. To what extent do verses 8–11 describe your church community? Loving each other deeply in the church is a tough call. But it is how God grows his character in us. It is how we grow in maturity as human beings. Love involves forgiveness and reconciliation, dealing with the “multitude of sins” (8), not sweeping them under the carpet. Love is incredibly creative, building community.
“We are products of our past, but we don’t need to be prisoners of it” (Rick Warren). We must live our lives looking through the windshield, not through the rearview mirror! What might this look like for you?
Lord, help me to control my desires and channel my energy into showing love to others.