Living in Community for God
1 Peter 4:1-11
The older I get, the more interested I am in making sure that I am living my life to the fullest for God. When I was young, it seemed that time went by slowly and I was always waiting for what was next. Now that I am older, times seems to fly by and I am constantly wondering where the time went. In the passage before us, Peter describes four attitudes a believer should have to make the most of the time they have. As you read about these attitudes, ask yourself if you have these attitudes present in your life and what adjustments you may need to make to live your life to the fullest for God.
Righteous Attitude Toward Sin 1 Peter 4:1-3
Peter encourages the reader to have a righteous attitude toward sin. “Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because He who has suffered in His body is done with sin.” (1 Peter 4:1) Remembering what Christ did in His own body to pay for the penalty of our sins helps us combat the sin that is present in our own lives. The person who remembers Christ’s great sacrifice on the cross does not live to satisfy the evil desires of the flesh, but lives to fulfill the will of God. Peter reminds us that we spent too much time living as “pagans” before we received Christ. He lists the prevailing sins of the day to make a contrast between the “pagan” lifestyle and the believer’s lifestyle. Nothing will sabotage the time that we have to live for God more than sin. In light of what Christ did for us on the cross, why would we want to return to a sin-filled life?
Understanding Attitude Toward the Lost 1 Peter 4:4-6
I was twenty when I received the gift of eternal life that Jesus offers those who will trust Him. The change in my life was dramatic and noticed by my family and friends. Many of them did not understand why my life style changed so dramatically and why I was so passionate about the things of God. Peter describes the need for a understanding attitude toward the lost. He writes, “They think it is strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, that they heap abuse on you.” (1 Peter 4:4) They too will be judged for the way they live their lives and what they do with Jesus Christ. The truth is they don’t understand because they don’t believe. Having an understanding attitude will not only help you stand up to their abuse, but you will have opportunities to be a light for Christ in a very dark world. Take every opportunity to minister to those who do not know Jesus. Time is too short to miss these divine appointments.
Expectant Attitude Toward Christ’s Return 1 Peter 4:7
Since time is short, we should have an expectant attitude toward Christ’s return. Peter writes, “The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray.” (1 Peter 4:7) The early church expected for Christ to return during their lifetime. Every day that passes is an opportunity for us to minister to those around us. When Christ comes back, it will be too late. The truth is that we will all see Jesus one day. We don’t know when, but we know it is closer today than it was yesterday. The quality of our lives today will determine our reward on the day we see Jesus face to face.
Servant’s Attitude Towards Others 1 Peter 4:8-11
The final attitude Peter encourages the reader to have that is described in this passage is a servant’s attitude toward others. He encourages love, hospitality, and the proper use of our gifts. Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California, describes the unique ministry S.H.A.P.E. that God has given each one of us.
- S – Spiritual Gifts
- H – Heart
- A – Abilities
- P – Personality
- E – Experience
The unique blending of these five areas of our lives equip us for a the unique ministry God has for each one of us. Peter goes on to emphasize that our gifts should be used for the glory of God, not ourselves. This will ensure that God receives His proper glory. Peter ends this passage with a fitting doxology, “To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.“