“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1-2 (NLT)
I admit it.
I’m a wimp when it comes to pain.
If there is a way to go around it, then I’m all about finding that way! But when I read this passage in 1st Peter the other day, I was convicted about my approach to life.
My Current Approach…
- When my husband hurts my feelings, I’d rather set him straight than swallow my pride and forgive his misstep.
- When I encounter someone who is antagonistic toward Christ, I’m dodging the subject and the discomfort it brings to share my faith.
- When my kids need correction, I don’t always correct them with patience and thoughtfulness. Instead, I’ll unload my frustrations on them as a way to stop their bad behavior and feel relieved all in one!
- When someone gets the very things I’ve wanted but have not received, I find it easier to fall into the arms of envy or even bitterness than to trust God’s goodness and justice.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture. I do these kinds of sick tricks every day—dodging the pain and suffering of being a fully devoted follower of Christ.
But did you notice what Peter says in verse one? He says that in order to be “finished with sin,” we must suffer! I don’t think I’ve ever thought about this concept fully until today. I’ve known that pain and suffering are the tools God often uses to refine and develop us. But I’ve never thought about it being the way to close the door on sin.
Now, I realize that as long as I’m alive and breathing, I will sin. But perhaps I will sin less if I surrender to the pain in my life—and dare I say it—even embrace pain?
Please hear me! I’m not saying that we should all go out and look for or conjure up pain. But perhaps we should welcome it when it comes. Perhaps pain is a blessing in disguise. And if I realized just how much God is using pain in my life to help me sin less, then wouldn’t my entire attitude change when trouble comes my way? I think so!
I don’t know if I’m there yet—ready to embrace or welcome pain—but I’m willing to think differently when pain comes my way next time.
How about you?
Do you think this would make a difference in your life?
How would it make a difference?