Friday, October 16, 2020

1 Peter 4

Key verse: 1 Peter 4:1
Big idea: Suffering reminds us of our exile.

As a mother eagle knows that her eaglets are growing closer to the time where they will need to live on their own, he gradually begins to make the nest less comfortable for them. Removing some feathers here, making things a little rougher there. Slowly, her child becomes less and less at home in the place which they will not be able to stay. She allows them to go through discomfort not because she does not love them, but because she does. This mother eagle does not design for her babies to remain children forever, but for them to grow, fly, and do the things for which they were designed.

Similarly. In our Christian lives sometimes if things go too easily (if we experience too much material comfort or if things are consistently going our way), we get complacent. When get comfortable in the warm cozy nest of our life and we forget to look outside! We lose sight of where God has called us to go. And so like an eagle, ee are made uncomfortable by God. First Peter 4 describes this by explaining that the one who has suffered in the flesh is through with sin. Once we have seen the outcome of the sins of the flesh, that bait loses its appeal for us. 

When we have truly known that all sin can lead to is death, the bait loses its charm. When we see that our death has already been overcome by the suffering of Christ, we have discovered the power for a new kind of life. Sometimes, though, the suffering which God allows us to endure is often not corrective, as if he is punishing us for something that we've done wrong already. Instead, some suffering is formative, where God uses the discipline in our life to make us into the people he would have us to be. It may be that there is no way for a free human to be conformed to the image of Christ without suffering. Certainly, Jesus Himself did not complete his course without much suffering; we should be surprised if we are treated differently than our master.
Discussion idea: A fairly new song asks what if "the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?" Do you think that has been true in your own life?
Prayer focus: Ask God to teach you to rejoice in suffering because it points to Him.

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