How To Arm Your Thinking
Suffering is a part of real life. It is often self-inflicted and is a product of living in a fallen sinful world. Fortunately, the Bible gives us wisdom and provision for dealing with it in a manner that will not only help us cope but will help bring restoration and the strengthening of our faith.
1 Peter 4:1 exhorts Christians, “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,”
Peter says that when we experience suffering, we should follow the example of Jesus and turn our thinking into armor. The word “thinking” in Greek is referring to and describing the intentions of the heart. In our trial and suffering, we ought to have the same thinking and intentions that Jesus had. Peter tells us how Jesus did this.
For to this, you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed. – 1 Peter 2:21-24
In this passage, we see several things we can do to arm our thinking and follow the example of Christ.
Avoid sin and you will avoid suffering. “He committed no sin”
Sin leads to suffering. Less sin will mean less suffering. Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you”.
Be honest. “neither was deceit found in his mouth.”
We should not try to lie, manipulate, rationalize or try to wriggle ourselves out of our suffering.
Don’t seek revenge or threaten others.“When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten”
When suffering comes, we should not try to threaten or bully our way out of our situation. We should not seek to inflict damage on others, even for others who are coming against us, because we are suffering.
Keep Trusting God.
When life is rotten, things are going poorly, people are treating us unfairly, we continue to trust God because He is in control and He will handle all things. He will punish those who need punishing and vindicate those who should be vindicated in His time. It is His job, not ours. Stay in the Word, stay firm and trust Him.
“Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:9-10