Posted by: Brad Beaman | January 26, 2011

Live Differently

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

Butterflies are the testimony of God’s handiwork. They are beautiful, delicate and graceful. When you see a grungy old caterpillar inching along it is hard to believe one can be transformed into a beautiful butterfly. Could you imagine that butterfly longing for its former life? Despite its wings it inches along like it always did before the transformation.

hungry caterpillar

Peter makes it clear that a Christian is transformed by God’s grace. There is no reason to return to a former life of worldly living. After the prodigal son returned to his father why would he go back to eating pig slop? No, we are called to live different.

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. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

Arm yourself to live differently.

When Peter calls to live differently he says “arm yourselves.” Remember Peter was the one who in the garden of Gethsemane when temple guards came to arrest Jesus, armed with a sword he drew it out and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest. But this is not the kind of arm yourself that Peter is talking about here. He is not talking about taking up weapons of self defense.

He is talking about arm yourself with the attitude of Christ when He put obedience to God ahead of suffering. Obedience is more important than dodging some suffering.

God’s will was the cross for Jesus. Obedience cost him suffering of the worst kind. Physical suffering, emotional suffering of mockery, spiritual suffering of taking on the sin of mankind.

Peter says in the same way as Christ arm yourselves, he is talking about the spiritual battle. There is a stark contrast between darkness and light. It means your level of Christian commitment brings you to the point of being willing to suffer for your faith.

Any believer needs to be willing to stand for his or her faith. A student in university. A man or woman in the workplace or a believer in a hostile country. It means obedience to Christ is more important than pleasing those against Christ. God will honor that kind of commitment.

People will quickly express their disapproval if your standard of obedience is higher than theirs. A friend was ridiculed because they kept their young children from watching a television show they felt was not honoring to Christ. They were told they would raise their children to be freaks. It hurt them but that is what they believed was the right thing to do.

What will the result be of arming yourself with the attitude of Christ? You will live for the will of God and not earthly desires. When you repent from you sins, put your faith in Christ then God sees you as righteous. Your sin is as far as the east is from the west. But the old sin nature is still there.

He who has suffered for Christ has done away with sin (vs. 1b). This is not a state of sinless perfection. Whoever suffers for doing right and still obeys God has, “made a break” from sin. That is where victory lies.

Make the Break from the past

Verse 3 tells us how relevant the Bible is. The basic problems we face on our culture are the same problems that were faced in Bible times. The lustful excesses Peter says are the things you were saved out of. Christians are called to make a break from all that. It will mean burning some bridges.

Peter’s time was much like ours. Those who lived in the world found only emptiness until they came to Christ. Don’t ever forget how empty all of that is. After spring break some colleges have counselors and psychologists on extra duty. It follows the focus on the same things that Peter mentions. There is such despair after Spring Break that there is an increase in suicides on the college campuses.

There are two lifestyles. One is following evil human desires. The other is to follow the will of God. The contrast is like night and day. Whatever time you spent in the world before you became a Christian was enough time wasted. Live differently now.

The only redeeming value of the former life is that you are more grateful and more zealous in following Christ. Don’t spend another day in the old lifestyle. Open your spiritual eyes. Simply seeing the old lifestyle calls you to serve Christ.

Those who turn to Christ leave behind a lifestyle that only destroys. New believers have a multiplying effect because their old friends see a difference. Some may think it strange that we “went off the deep end” and heap abuse but some will be attracted to Christ.

These verses of 1 Peter underscore the total depravity of man. Only in Christ can a person be changed. Christ fills the empty heart. Arm yourselves with the attitude of Christ.

Giving account vs. 5-6

Jesus prayed for those who crucified him. Stephen prayed for those who killed him. Those who scorn you for following Christ they must give an account. They must stand before God. In the final judgment everyone is accountable before God.

You will stand before God and give an account of your life. It is more than having good behavior. Jesus condemned the religious Pharisees. For this reason the gospel was preached (vs. 6).
Those who are now dead. Peter is simply saying just because someone dies before Christ, the one who will judge returns. They have not missed it. Everyone living and dead will stand before God and give an account. Only the Good News will help them.

Noah cried out of the coming flood and the people were oblivious and ignored him. Sodom and Gomorrah were content in sin and judgment came upon them in a fury. It may seem that the response is the same as we warn of the consequences of life without Jesus. Now is the time to be transformed as the caterpillar to the butterfly. Enough of the old life.

Ty Cobb is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He led the American league batting for 12 years and 4 years batted over 400. He accepted Jesus as his savior when he was on his death bed July 17, 1961.

“You tell the boys I’m sorry it was the bottom of the ninth that I came to know Christ. I wish it had been the first inning.”

Make your life count. Live differently.

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Responses

  1. Brad,
    It’s great to hear from you. I would appreciate you mailing the book to me. Please send to the following:
    Dane Fowlkes
    147 Private Road
    Waco, Texas 76708

    Thanks! Blessings!


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