How, how often my mindset reflects a mentality that focuses on pleasing others and finding approval from man. I read the verses in 1 Peter 4 and see myself, so easily entangled.
4 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,[a] arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 1 Peter 4 ESV
Instead of an outward focus, I need an upward focus. – to live for the rest of the time in the flesh for the will of God. And why am I shocked and surprised when I am maligned? Am I seeking the approval of man more or instead of the approval of God? My heart ponders.
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4 ESV
God’s grace is varied and beautiful, like the people He has created. His reflection is found in the unique snowflake, the multitude of leaf color, the sun’s ever new reflection dancing on the water, the skyscape, the landscape. My heart treasures people- the work of His hands. Creation declares the glory of God. Living open-handed, in the freedom of His forgiveness; the blessedness of grace, enables me to love earnestly, serve as a reflection of God’s varied grace, recognize that the gift I have been given is not the gift of another. And that is good. And that is right. O, the wild freedom I have in Christ. The healing forgiveness. The blessed grace.
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[b] and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[c]
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 4 ESV
This passage has been a friend to me in different times and seasons. I think a lot about doing good. Doing good, for me, can be a lot about trusting God in all circumstances and about the orientation of my heart. Just as a turning my heart to capture and offer gratitude changes me from the inside out, so a focus on doing good as unto the Lord works an inward to outward change. To be insulted and misunderstood for the name of Christ is actually to be blessed (v 14).
I ponder, and my mind needs a realignment toward the values Scripture portrays.
Lord, thank You for Your Word, for Your kindness, for Your beauty, for Your grace. Thank You for Your unending love and infinite understanding. When others misunderstand, or make judgments, I am safe in Your unending goodness and understanding. Help me to be so full of Your love and life, that the natural overflow in each day is one that reflects a passionate, whole-hearted commitment to You. I need You, Lord.