Begin by Praying (Ask God to open your heart and mind so you can understand His Word)
Lord, would you give use help in understanding Your Word today and wisdom in applying it to our daily lives. Help us cultivate Gentle and Quiet Spirits for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Now Read … 1 Peter 4:1-19
The main points in lessons 18-20 are:
- We must be different than the world (180-Degree Turn). How do we do this?
- We must be prepared for Jesus’ return. How do we do this?
- We must look at suffering as a blessing. How do we do this?
Listen (Receive some thoughts and further insights about the lessons studied)
- Lesson 18 (1 Peter 4:1-6)
- I was struck by a phrase in verse 1: “… arm yourselves also with the same mind.” Can you picture this metaphor? Literally gather all the weapons you need for warfare and carry them around (be ready for the battle). Be like-minded with Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) He suffered daily while He journeyed through His life on earth, yet He did not sin. We are being COMMANDED in this verse to arm ourselves with the mind of Christ. What are our “arms” or “weapons” for doing this? The same that we would use for any spiritual battle (because doing this is a battle – the enemy does not want us to have the mind of Christ.). We must put on spiritual armor! (See Ephesians 6:10-18.) When we begin to arm ourselves, we can begin living in the spirit rather than the flesh. This is how you make the 180-Degree Turn Elizabeth George is talking about. This is how we can cultivate a Gentle and Quiet Spirit.
- Lesson 19 (1 Peter 4:7-11)
- Again, a word/phrase jumps off the page at me in this passage. “Be serious.” It’s the Greek word sōphroneō which means to be of sound mind, to be sober, to exercise self-control, to curb one’s passions (blueletterbible.org). In others words don’t get carried away by emotions, but instead have an Eternal perspective. Again, one of the main ways to do this is by arming oneself with prayer.
- Loving others is another theme in these verses. The phrase from verse 8, “Love covers a multitude of sins,” does not mean that my love or yours can blot out sin. Jesus’ love for humanity sent Him to the cross and His loving sacrifice is the only covering (propitiation) for our sins. As we love people, though, our loving encouragement and example can lead them to turn to Christ and repent of their sins.
- Finally, Peter speaks about using our gifts to ministry to others. See this week’s WOW Weekly Moment for a beautiful devotional on this topic by Christin Eschelbach.
- Lesson 20 (1 Peter 4:12-19)
- Suffering is never fun! But if we go back to verses 7-8 that we just read, we are reminded that perspective in suffering is key. Verses 12-19 help us see that we should not be surprised by suffering and trials. After all Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will havetribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” But why must we suffer? Growth! That’s it. Trials make us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and that is where our focus should be. Peter goes on to tell us that we should “rejoice in suffering for the sake of Christ.” We should also seek to glorify God in our sufferings always looking to Him as our good and faithful creator. This is difficult teaching, but it is the path that leads to a gentle and quiet spirit.
Respond (Apply spiritual truth to your life) Don’t forget to post your comments below!!
- What are you arming yourself with – spiritual armor or fleshly armor?
- What is your perspective as you journey through life – eternal or temporal?
- How do you view suffering?
- What changes are you seeing as we journey through this study together?
Homework: (Final Week!)
Pray and thank God for revealing Truth to you. Ask Jesus to help these deep truths sink into your heart and mind.