Willing To Suffer

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Willing To Suffer

1Pe 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

The Holy Spirit tells us to arm ourselves. The word arm has particular significance for there is an ongoing battle within each of us and to overcome we need a particular kind of weapon. Here, the Lord doesn't emphasize prayer, fasting, or any of the common weapons of our warfare but rather the mind of Christ.

We are to prepare our thinking for the kind of attack that says we shouldn't suffer. We win the battle of the mind. We review our theology, we consider our beliefs, we look inwardly to determine if we can face the life we are called to live. Willingness to suffer goes to the core of our faith for suffering challenges our love for God.

We are told to arm ourselves with a willingness to suffer. Most are willing to suffer for personal benefit; If I can get what I want then I'm willing to suffer. Many are willing to suffer for money, pleasure, recognition, and such things. We willingly suffer those things that will put us in a good light.

But, this is not the kind of suffering for which we are to prepare. No, the kind of suffering Jesus suffered was for the benefit of another; He suffered for our benefit. We are told to arm ourselves with this same mind. In other words, do we have the kind of mind that will allow us to suffer for another? We are to examine our priorities so that we can come to grips with what Christ is saying; telling ourselves the truth about our calling prepares our heart for the possibility of suffering.

The word arm means to equip, or to prepare. Our calling is to equip ourselves so that we can follow Christ. We prepare our thinking. We have to understand our calling is to be conformed to Him who suffered, in the flesh, for others. Christ, suffered in his flesh, means he suffered physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the lives of others. His pain was real and He gave his life. We are told to have the same mind, the same world-view, the same willingness to suffer for the benefit of another.

Suffering is a continuum, from minor inconvenience to gruesome death. Let's just start with the smallest of sufferings. Are we willing to be inconvenienced for Christ? Are we willing to pray for others? Are we willing to make the time to pray for family members whom we know to be lost? Are we willing to pray for our Missionaries? Are we willing to suffer the inconvenience of helping within our local church?

Are we willing to suffer the inconvenience of working with difficult people? Following Christ can be messy. It requires that we put our hand to the plow and not look back. If we look back then plowing becomes too difficult and we find a reason to quit. So we arm ourselves with the mind of Christ.

We began with 1Peter 4:1. It makes an interesting observation about those who are willing to suffer in the flesh. This verse states that those who are willing to suffer in the flesh have ceased from sin. In other words, the person who is willing to suffer has stopped living for themselves. But the opposite is also true. The person not willing to suffer, even the smallest inconvenience, is not following Christ at all. They continue to live only for themselves. A person not willing to be inconvenienced for Christ has a selfish, self-seeking faith. The kind of faith that follows Christ is the faith that is willing to be conformed to Christ.

Our human nature resists suffering for another, and this portion of Scripture openly states we are to prepare ourselves for this calling. Our enemies are the flesh and the devil and their message is one of self-fulfillment. If we listen to them, we will never inconvenience ourselves for the sake of Christ.

God bless you,

Jim

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