Thursday, July 25, 2013
What Feeds Your Desires?
What Feeds Your Desires?
1 Peter 4:1-2
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God.
These early Christians were facing horrible persecution and martyrdom. The physical suffering under Nero was almost unimaginable as he treated Christians with complete and total contempt, at times covering them with tar and burning them as lanterns in his gardens.
Jesus had suffered in the flesh and therefore all Christians should be prepared for the same. The author is not saying that by suffering in the flesh you put sin to death, but that those who have put on Christ and have gone on to suffer have done so because they have put sin to death. It is a result of living for Christ, with the mind turned toward him and all desires for him. When this happens "the things of this world grow strangely dim."
I'm writing this today as I sit in an airport during my second delay in less than 24 hrs. At this point I may not make it to my scheduled meeting in time and I find that rather frustrating. The airline is trying to appease us with free soft drinks and granola bars. While this is frustrating it certainly is not persecution, and yet, for some of us we would complain about this "suffering." Maybe that is because in our Western civilization we have come to expect everything to go well and therefore we have changed the definition of suffering. At the same time there are brothers and sisters around the world who ARE suffering on a daily basis for following Christ.
We all have desires in life. The overall desire of many of those early martyred Christians was to see Christ. They lived every day without connection to the things of this world and looked forward to the life which was to come. What fed their desires and motivations on a daily basis was the hope found in resurrection power and of being united with Christ. Therefore they were prepared to suffer in the flesh.
This is not a popular message, not one that all of Christianity is willing to preach. Health and wealth is much more palatable than asking believers if they are willing to suffer for their faith. But if the message we want is health and wealth, then what is it that is feeding our desires? It seems to me that our desire is for things of this world; the things of flesh. If our desire is for Christ and Christ alone, then our desire becomes the will of God. We have to take an honest look at ourselves and ask ourselves what ultimately motivates us. Is it a desire for Christ, or could it be something else? No matter how good that other thing is, it may be keeping us from the relationship that God has intended us to have with him.
Lord, please remove the distractions of life and lead my desire to you. Amen.