What I learned about suffering in the flesh
When I finally learned what it meant to suffer in the flesh, new hope dawned in my life.
This is my personal testimony: I believe that if I suffer in theI will cease from sinning.
It is written in 1 Peter 4:1 that “… since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”
If I live focused only on my own thoughts, worries, and daily chores I cannot see the most valuable things that can really help me to live a happy and victorious life. This verse in 1 Peter 4:1 is extremely powerful. It says that those who have suffered in the flesh have ceased from sin. That means I can stop sinning!
I personally came to a point in my life where I got tired of the way I was living. I didn’t want to continue living the same way, having bad thoughts about others, having impure thoughts about guys, thinking only about myself, trying to find only things that could benefit me.
The problem was that I didn’t understand yet that when those thoughts came, it was just a temptation. I knew that I didn’t want those thoughts, but at first, I didn’t understand that they weren’t sin, because I hadn’t actively agreed with them. When I finally understood this, a new hope dawned in my life. Then I understood that when those thoughts came up, I could fight against them and not allow them to live and come into my heart. In other words – I could suffer in the flesh and cease from sin, just like the verse says!
A powerful weapon
Now this verse became an incredible and powerful weapon whenever an impure thought – or any thought I knew was bad – popped up. For example, a temptation to be envious when someone’s outward situations seem better than mine. Or a temptation to complain about how someone is behaving, or a temptation to build thought castles about a guy who gave me a smile. Every time I was tempted, I remembered this word, and sometimes repeated it out loud. I reminded myself very strongly, “if I suffer in the flesh, if I hate this thought and do not let it come into my heart, I will not sin and therefore I will be done with it!” I really believed that it was possible for me to experience this verse in my own life, even though I didn’t have complete victory yet.
But little by little I started working with the thoughts that were plaguing me. And I found that when I consciously had this mind to suffer, then I experienced what is written. I didn’t commit conscious sin in those areas where I suffered!
After experiencing this, I realized that wasn’t the end of the battle, but just the beginning. Further in that verse it is written: “… arm yourselves also with the same mind” (the mind of Christ), and His mind was “to suffer in the flesh.” It is written in Hebrews 5:7 that Jesus “…in the days of His flesh, [when He] had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear.” This was clearly the mind of Christ every single day of His life, and if it is written, “arm yourselves also with the same mind,” then it means I also have to do the same. God really listens to my prayers and will lead me to a victorious life, just like He led Jesus.
Each day I am tempted to sin, yet I haven’t committed sin if I do not agree with the temptations that come as thoughts or feelings. (James 1:14-15.) On the contrary, these temptations are new opportunities to not give in and therefore to stop sinning! Jesus can always help us in the time of temptation. “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:18. But I will only be able to stand if I arm myself with the mind of Christ, that mind that He had to never sin against His Father! I don’t see all the sin in my flesh at once, but I can be faithful to overcome what I do see. Day by day, step by step, I walk in the light that I have from God and overcome by His power.
If I believe that God’s word is true, then I believe that it is possible to cease from sinning, and if I am willing to suffer, then God will be sure to help me and give me His Spirit. Peter writes: “… for if you do these things you will never stumble.” 2 Peter 1:10. I must believe in these words, make them part of my life and in the time of battle ask God for help and go to action! Then I will never stumble! I will never fall!
This cannot be more crystal clear for me. I really believe in these words, and faith in them have led me to experience them!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.