Read 1 Peter 4:1-6."Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin." NIV
Have you ever read a passage and it grabs you? You're not even sure completely what it's meaning, but you are drawn. That happens often to me as I study, and this is one of those verses -- especially the last half. I've know many people who have suffered greatly because of their sin and were glad to leave it behind. But I've known even more who even though they've suffered, don't know how to get out of the sin, have their identity in it and don't want to leave, or in some strange way enjoy the suffering.
Masking the suffering of sin is a huge job for the enemy. He wants everyone to think sinning is much more fun than not sinning. He wants to discredit a straight path as being right- wing fundamentalism - said almost as a dirty word. He wants to make life without sin look boring and useless. But he is the great Deceiver, and we as believers must expose his lie. Oh, those sins may bring a temporary pleasure, but their consequences, both here on earth and in the judgement to come, far outweigh the momentary satisfaction.
How do we expose the Deceiver? By living our lives above reproach, by loving those who are stuck in the deception, by showing them the joy and freedom we have outside of a life of sin, by guiding them out of the lie. It's sort of like being in a dark tunnel, and you are the one in the front of the line with the only flashlight. You could just face the light forward so your path is clear. But it would be so much better if you'd stop and face the light behind you so others could see how to get where you are. You may not feel like you are capable of leading anyone else because you have not gone much farther than they have from their sin, but every little bit away helps. Just seeing a glimpse of a life free from the bondage of sin may be enough to encourage someone to take steps.
- What are some ways you have suffered because of sin?
- Look up different examples of Jesus shining the flashlight for people to move away from their sin? How did He illuminate the pain of the sin? In what form did He present the hope?
- Is there someone around you that you need to love out of sin and light the right path? What are some ways you can show them love? How are they going to see the right path?
- Who do you need to thank for lighting the path for you?
- How is the Old Testament a light for us?