Summary: If you want to face the hardships it takes to have a life that matters for Christ, arm ourselves with His attitude, choose to abandon your sin, expect abuse, and anticipate God’s approval.
George, age 92, and Jane, age 89, were all excited about their decision to get married. They went for a stroll to discuss wedding plans, and on the way, they passed a drugstore. The elderly couple entered the store where George asked to speak to the owner.
“We're about to get married,” George informs him. “Do you sell heart medication?"
"Of course we do," the owner replies.
"How about support-hose to help with poor circulation?"
"What about medicine for rheumatism, osteoporosis, and arthritis?" George continues.
"All kinds," says the owner with confidence.
"How about waterproof furniture covers and Depends?"
George asks, "Hearing aid and denture supplies, and reading glasses?"
"What about eye drops, sleeping pills, Geritol, and Ensure?"
"Do you sell wheelchairs, walkers, and canes?"
“All kinds and sizes,” the owner replies. “But why all these questions?"
George smiles proudly and announces, "We'd like to use your store as our wedding registry."
George and Jane were getting prepared for the trials they knew were coming.
In the same way, it is good for all of us to prepare for the trials to come. The Bible says, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). And Jesus Himself said to his followers, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Dear friends, if you choose to follow Christ, former friends will harass you, people will persecute you, and you WILL suffer for it in some way.
The question is: How do you get ready for that kind of suffering? How do you prepare for the harassment that’s coming? How do you face the hardships it takes to have a life that matters for Christ? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to 1 Peter 4, 1 Peter 4, where the Bible addresses a group of people who are beginning to go through such persecution.
1 Peter 4:1 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... (ESV)
This verse pictures a soldier getting ready for battle. He arms himself with the proper equipment and weapons necessary to win the battle. Well, as those involved in a spiritual battle, you need to arm ourselves as well. Only, you don’t arm yourself with guns and swords, no. You arm yourself with an attitude that says, “I’m ready to die for Christ if that’s what He calls me to do.”
Christ came to this earth in the flesh prepared to die in order to save us from our sins, and you must come with the same kind of mental preparation.
SO ARM YOURSELF WITH CHRIST’S ATTITUDE.
In your minds, be ready to suffer as he did.
When Ronald Reagan gave his first inaugural address, he made reference to the simple white crosses that mark the graves in the Arlington National Cemetery. He said:
“Under one such marker lies a young man, Martin Treptow, who left his job in a small-town barber shop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire.
“We are told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, ‘My Pledge,’ he had written these words: ‘America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.’” (From Ronald Reagan's first inaugural address, January 20, 1981; www.PreachingToday.com)
Martin Treptow had armed himself with the right attitude, so he was ready to give his life for his country. In the same way, you too must arm yourself with the right attitude. You too must mentally prepare to suffer like Christ did, and that starts with a choice.
So choose right now to be done with the old way of life. Choose right now to forgo an indulgent lifestyle. Choose right now to…
ABANDON YOUR SIN.
That’s what it means in verse 1 when it says, “Whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” That is to say, when a believer suffers because of his or her commitment to Christ, that believer has made a choice. That believer has made a choice to be done with sin. That believer has made a choice to cease living a sinful lifestyle in order to live according to God’s will.
1 Peter 4:2 ...so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (ESV)
The one who suffers for Christ has made a choice. Like Moses, “choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).