You face daily war & attacks. The Bible's advice to defend yourself? Weaponize your mind.
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1 Peter 4 (ESV)
1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,
arm yourselves with the same way of thinking,
for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh
no longer for human passions
but for the will of God.
3 For the time that is past suffices for doing
what the Gentiles want to do,
and lawless idolatry.
4 With respect to this
they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery,
and they malign you;
they will give account to him
who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6 For this is why the gospel
was preached even to those who are dead,
though judged in the flesh
the way people are,
they might live in the spirit
the way God does.
7 The end of all things is at hand;
and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
8 Above all,
keep loving one another earnestly,
since love covers a multitude of sins.
9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
10 As each has received a gift,
use it to serve one another,
as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
11 whoever speaks,
as one who speaks oracles of God;
as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—
in order that in everything
God may be glorified
through Jesus Christ.
forever and ever.
do not be surprised at the fiery trial
when it comes upon you to test you,
as though something strange were happening to you.
13 But rejoice
insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings,
that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ,
you are blessed,
because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
15 But let none of you suffer
as a murderer
or a thief
or an evildoer
or as a meddler.
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian,
let him not be ashamed,
but let him glorify God in that name.
17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God;
and if it begins with us,
what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
let those who suffer
according to God’s will
entrust their souls to a faithful Creator
while doing good.
1 Peter 4 Summary
The opening verses of this chapter depend on a concept that Peter has already introduced: The passions of the flesh (sarx) which wage war against your soul (2:11).
Often times we think of sin as being like a pesky fly, but Peter reminds us of the all out onslaught that Sarx is attacking us with every day, trying to drag you into sin.
To defend against these attacks, it's critical that you follow the advice at the beginning of the chapter: arm yourself with Christ's way of thinking (v1). In other words, doctrines and theology are not some dusty old bits of useless trivia. If you expect to live a life no longer controlled by human passions, but for the will of God (v1), you need to prepare your mind for action (v7 - translated as sober-minded in the NIV and ESV).
The second half of the chapter opens with the ominous phrase "the end of all things is near..." But this doesn't mean what you probably think it means.
The common understanding of 'the end' is that all things will be over and done with, like when The End comes on the screen after a movie.
There are multiple Greek words Peter could have used if that's what he meant, but instead he used a word that we still, albeit rarely, use in English: teleos. It means 'goal / completion.'
So we could translate v7 this way: the end goal of all things is near [and that goal is the salvation of your soul and the resurrection of your body].
In this sense, the end is just the beginning!
That's why v8-19 encourage you to start living with this ultimate goal in mind right now, because it's near.
We live in a time when Christians who strive to remain faithful to God's commands are mocked and ridiculed.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Peter wrote two millennia ago that unbelievers are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you (v4).
So you're under constant attack, both from within (your own sinful nature is at war with you) and from the pagan culture you live in. This is why you must continue all the more reading God's Word and gathering to hear it proclaimed.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Your faithful Creator (v19) and the one who provides you strength to serve Him (v11)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will enable you to rejoice even as you participate in the sufferings of Christ (v13)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: