Monday, July 4, 2011

End of Suffering

End of Suffering
July 4, 2011
1 Peter 4:1 "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin."

I would like to be done with sin in my life. But in all honesty, I really don't want to get rid of sin; I want to get rid of the consequences of sin. I want to be rid of feeling convicted about my sin, but I don't really want to get rid of my wrongdoings. I would like to do whatever I want with no repercussions and still have the Lord's favor, regardless of how selfish I was acting. This is not an option, though, having your cake and eating it, too. You cannot live with sin in your life AND be pleasing to the Lord. You cannot serve the Lord AND serve your selfish desires. I've tried it and it does not work. You must choose the Lord's will or your own sin. Those are the only options.

There is a formula for getting rid of the sin in your life, but you won't want to hear it. In order to be rid of the sin in your life, you must take on the attitude of suffering. You won't want to admit it is true, but you must if you believe in the Lord and His Word. It is in plain print; Scripture couldn't be more clear. Read it for yourself, "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin."

How unfortunate a statement for those of us who'd like to hang on to our selfish and fleshly desires. We want to end suffering in this present lifetime, not embrace it or endure it quietly. We want pleasure, not unpleasantness or discomfort. In fact, most moments of our lives are spent figuring out a way to enjoy things more and be rid of any amount of difficulty, work, or suffering. Some cultures, that aren't even Christian-based, embrace suffering as a lifestyle, but not us. We want all the fullness of Christ with none of the heartache. But to end our suffering on this earth would mean physical death or a life of filled with selfish, sensual satisfaction. Either way, it would mean the end of what the Lord wants for you and me right here, right now. The end of your suffering in this lifetime would be the permanence of sin.

On the flipside, though, if you embrace an attitude of suffering it would be the end of your selfish satisfaction, the end of your sin. Actually, listen to what Scripture says of those who choose to embrace an attitude of suffering. "As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God." Those who choose to lay down their selfish desires end up serving the Will of the Father. This is not self-punishment but laying down what you want in any and every circumstance, even if it results in no satisfaction for yourself. In order to live for the Will of the Lord, you must choose to set aside your own gratification. This would, as a result, mean the end of your life filled with sin. It doesn't wipe away your sin (the blood of Jesus took care of that) but it allows for your sinful nature to be put away, as all sin is born of selfishness.

Try it for a week, giving up anything you personally "want" in every and any circumstance. It will feel like suffering, but it will also make a way for the Lord's will to be accomplished through you. It will also mean you will have sinned a LOT less.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Matt 6:24, Mark 8:34, Romans 6:7, Philippians 1:21, Col 2:20, 1 Peter 4

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