1 Peter 4


Chapter 4 begins by saying goodbye to the old you and bringing on the new you. I really like the first few verses because it shows that God immediately begins working within us. There is no “waiting period” to see if our salvation is going to “take” before the changes begin. In the blink of an eye, we begin changing just as in the blink of an eye, we were saved and our blessed hope is in the blink of an eye Christ will call us to Him.
4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;
 
First, can I just say that this verse really hits the nail on the head! How many times have we tried to make changes in our lives only to be sabotaged by friends that didn’t have our best interests at heart?
Excesses of dissipation … this is an interesting phrase.
Excesses means the state of exceeding what is normal or sufficient.
Dissipation means :
  1. The act of dissipating or the condition of having been dissipated.
  2. Wasteful expenditure or consumption.
  3. Dissolute indulgence in sensual pleasure; intemperance.
Dissolute means:
adj. adjective
  1. Lacking moral restraint; indulging in sensual pleasures or vices.
So, basically, people get really weirded out when someone all of a sudden decides to live a better life and/or give up some bad habits. Misery loves company and if someone has a vice, they want others to have it too so that they can feel normal.
Likewise, if someone practices immoral behavior they tend to surround themselves with other people who do as they do and it becomes acceptable, even normal. The phrase, when in Rome… comes to mind.
I can identify with this, too well.
8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
This is so true. That’s all I can really say about this and it is enough.
Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.
 
This also gives us a way to remember not to take selfish pride in things. When good things happen it is often hard to remember to give the glory to God. In all area’s of our lives we need to help each other remember to not partake in selfish pride but to give the glory to God.
 It’s nice to receive compliments for our artistry or talents…like our quilts… or our drawings… and we can feel joy when others take pleasure in them. But we have to remember that if we are artistic, God graced us with a gift. If we have come up with a great design for a quilt, God gave us the inspiration. Even in the hardest things we have to look for a way to give over the glory and that may be a simplistic, God created me, so if it weren’t for Him I wouldn’t be here to have done this, or that or whatever the case may be.
If I lose weight, I’ve done it on His strength and not my own. If I quit smoking, I do it on His strength and not my own. If I cook a fantastic meal, it’s because God provides my every need. Gratefulness is something to be practiced.
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
 
Many times I hear these verses used to describe all kinds of trials and sufferings to explain about bad things happening and for me, I think this is an incorrect interpretation of these verses. To me, these verses are talking about a very specific kind of suffering. The kind of suffering that comes about because you are a Christian, a follower of Christ. I may be wrong but I think there are other verses that speak better to normal day to day trials we may go through.
These verses aren’t speaking to me about the trials one might go through to grow in faith and purify their spirits. I think these verses 12-16, are speaking specifically about suffering for Christ’s sake.
Verses 17-19 is talking about judgment. Other verses claim that all will be judged. It begins with the house of God first and if we are God’s children, it stands to reason we would be judged first. Being judged is not easy but I think these are the changes we are going through when we accept Christs gift to us. He begins to work within us immediately so that when we die, our judgment has already taken place. Our trials and tribulations, we have already experienced and grown from.
It’s not easy being a follower of Christ. It’s not easy to make changes or even to acknowledge that changes must be made. Without Christ, it is impossible. If it’s hard for us as believers, how impossible is it for non believers as verse 18 asks?
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