Summary: Christ saw pain as an opportunity for greater pleasure. Christ saw enduring pain for doing what is right as a door for His greatest delight – God Himself. We are to arm ourselves with this same mindset.
Psychologists tell us people want to be known. Some people want to be known for their work as an actor, a singer, or other want to be known as a culinary artist. Others just want to be known. Some people take the need to be known to the extreme. A Jamaican man set a distance record of 23.11 miles in just over twelve hours on June 22, 1997. With a POGO STICK. Ashrita also holds the Guinness World Records for brick carrying and underwater rope jumping are some of his other records. Rob and Joe from California made the world largest skateboard. It measures over 36 feet in length with wheels that are almost nine feet in width! By comparison, the Chevrolet Suburban is around nineteen feet long. Eric from Sweden was able to keep nine yo-yo’s spinning at once. And Nick from New York drank 46 once ketchup at a local community college while friends watched. He calls himself the “Human Ketchup Drinking Machine.”
How others view us is a powerful motivator. For example, I don’t wear certain clothes in order to be seen as fashionable. Most of us all are powerfully motivated by ensuring others will be like us. Today, I want to talk with about how to find pleasure. I want to talk with you about how your known and the pleasure we find by being known. We find great pleasure by going with the flow. We find great pleasure by not standing out in the crowd. Yet, I contend that the greatest pleasure is not found in what others think of me, but I find my greatest joy… Our greatest pleasure in God Himself. Be Resolved to find Your Greatest Pleasure in Jesus Christ Despite Opposition for You will Give an Account of Your Life.
“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, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does” (1 Peter 4:1-6).
Peter explained in the last part of chapter three that suffering is not a sign of weakness. Instead, Christ’s pathway to winning was His suffering.
1. Be Resolved
Peter points out to us in verse two that we have a choice: We can live for God’s will or for human passions. Living for human passions today is respectably called hedonism. It’s the idea that only pain or pleasure motivates us. One vacation club calls this “the sandbox of your inner child.” Most of us do not give living for pleasure a name such as hedonism. Instead, we instinctively live to please ourselves. This isn’t all bad as God has hard-wired us to live for pleasure. Only He wants us to pause to consider what real pleasure is and the source of where real pleasure comes from.. Peter again tells us that we have a choice: to live for God and endure suffering during this lifetime to enjoy the greatest pleasures in the next life… or… follow our hedonistic pleasure now where the blueprint is to eliminate suffering from our worlds. In essence, Peter is calling on us to pursue pleasure. But it’s not human passions that he wants us to pursue. If we find our pleasure in “doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry…” then our pursuit of pleasure is too weak (1 Peter 4:4).
Most of you think of pleasure as enjoying a relaxing cup of coffee in the morning… Women may think of the company of an intelligent, witty, and handsome man… Teenagers may think making the all-star team in baseball where their name is called out before everyone else. Professionals will seek the notoriety of being the best in their profession. Yet, Peter says this pursuit of pleasure is not wrong but just too weak. Listen to what Blaise Pascal has said: “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different [ways they try it], they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both…. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.” Nowhere in the Bible does God condemn people for longing to be happy. People are condemned for forsaking God and seeking their happiness other than in God (Jeremiah 2:13). This is the essence of sin. The Bible actually commands us to delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4). Jesus teaches us to love God more than money because our heart is where our treasure is (Matthew 6:21). Paul wants us to believe that gaining Christ is worth the loss of everything else (Philippians 3:8). And the author of Hebrews exhorts us to endure suffering, like Jesus, for the joy set before us (Hebrews 12: 1-2). So you have a choice in front of you: Should I pursue the short-term pleasure described in verse four? Or should I pursue an eternal pleasure by pursing God? The question is answered by you when you determine which is your greatest pleasure. The early Christians that read this letter answered the question. They stiff-armed the passions of the flesh for the ultimate pleasure found in God. They abstained from popular forms of entertainment. Whether it was the Roman theater with its risqué performances… The chariot races… Or the gladiatorial fights with their blood and gore… No matter, the early Christians were resolved. They refused to burn incense to the Roman emperor, which was a gesture of civic gratitude much like pledging allegiance to the flag is for Americans today. Only, they refused because their Caesar was Lord. For this they were hated by others. Yet, their lives are a memorial than suffering a little pain in this life.