By Anna Prudence Minobbo
Living for God 1 Peter 4: 1-11
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 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. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body but live according to God in regard to the spirit. The end of all things is near. Therefore, be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
It is easy to get pulled into the idea that once you become a devoted Christian you won’t see a sad day, that there won’t be pain anymore and you won’t be affected by anything around you. Some people even go as far as to call it ‘Living your best life’ but that’s not true. Yes, Jesus did say the we would have life in full however the same Jesus did promise us rooms in His Father’s house which comes at a price too. For to share in his glory as we have to SHARE IN HIS SUFFERING. So yeah, it’s not supposed to be a picnic every day. They’ll be tests and trials, there’ll be the
weariness the feeling at odds with all around you. There will be days when you’ll probably lose friends, family, and colleagues simply because of your belief in Christ. It is literally you against the world. And yes it will be hard, painful, heavy, trying, draining, so many unimaginable things I personally have not yet experienced and can only imagine! But there’s a catch and I am here to remind you and me that he has a plan and a promise for Us. Who doesn’t like those? haha
This plan has been in place since the beginning of your formation. God created you for a purpose that is fully activated when you recognize his authority and give your life to Christ. He prepares you and works in you to see through his purpose for creating you. Ephesians 2: 10 puts it nicely ‘For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ and (Jeremiah 29: 11.) adds that they are plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
It is true some people end up serving in their created purpose because God is great and merciful like that and His will must be done. It is for this reason that I used the phrase ‘fully activated.’ Liken it to scientists who experiment on the basis of trial and error … however, once they discover what they were trying to find out they become more intentional about the process and it is easier henceforth to do. One preacher put it so well. He said ‘a good thing is simply that but it becomes a good work when God is involved and it is good works that glorify God.’
So keeping a positive mindset through hard times is key. Keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t give up being good, don’t give up in the middle, don’t give up when you are so close to the end. When you feel weak or limited, trust in God to sustain you. For He assures us that ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…’ (2 Corinthians 12:9.) Do not let all your hard work and perseverance be undone simply because you
are tired and forgot to ask God for help. Stay convinced that It is no lie that all good things work for those who are called according to His purpose. He means business!
The apostle James says ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything’ (James 1: 2-4.) Take time to reflect on the patriarchs of our faith, like us had weaknesses and faced several mind-boggling challenges, and commended as righteous for their
perseverance to the end. (See Hebrews 11: 1-40)
God is looking for a specific breed of people who are children of Light, who are Committed, people who believe in Him as He believes in them, People who are ready to make use of the gifts he has provided. These are people who do not conform to the standards of this world. (Ephesians 4:17- 5: 21). These people he will reward generously, differently, and abundantly according to what they have turned out – Your output. Yes, eternal life is more than we imagine;
He writes to him who overcomes,
● I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God;
● He will give the crown of life and Will not be hurt at all by the second death;
● He will give some of the hidden manna and a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it;
● Authority over the nations, he will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery just as He received authority from the Father, He will also give him the Morningstar;
● Will walk with Him dressed in white, He will never blot out their name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before the Father and his angels;
● He will make a pillar in the temple of God. Never again will He leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God … I will also write on him my new name;
● I will give the right to sit with me on my throne.
I just love these promises! They seem tailored to our specific desires …those who just wish for a paradise of peace and joy, those who have an incredible zeal for life, those who love to partake in the Holy Eucharist and enjoy special sentimental gifts, those who just are made for and love to lead, those who just love walks and long to walk and converse with God as Enoch and want to be acknowledged as friends of God, those who just love to be in God’s presence, their whole life is about Church… they are just glued to the place…they love everything about being there, and those who love the front seats like James and John, respectively.
However, it all has to be earned. The details of the above can be found in Revelations 2 and 3. I believe they clearly out shine the worldly idea of ‘best life.’ On top of this we shall get new bodies upon our resurrection! No more dependence on this body that could let you down at any moment. No worries about disease, ageing or physical lack or temptation! Surely you agree that this just keeps getting better.
Jim Reeves sang ‘this world’s not my home, am just passing through’, for a believer this rhymes true because from time to time you’ll feel you don’t fit in. In fact, your bidding your time to go ‘Home’ to rest. Fear of death becomes a thing of the past because you are living well, living for God. You are living as a good steward over what God has given you. Your family, your friends, your colleagues and employers, your neighbors, your employees… Basically you are living as an agent of God’s love and grace, a messenger of peace, a builder not a breaker since you too received that same love, grace and peace given by the Father.
I end today by reminding you that It is not our place to question how God works but to simply earnestly seek and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, then He will accomplish all he has set to in our lives. He will provide for and sustain you. He will be your strength and your refuge.
Do not just seek God for self-gain… riches, popularity or prominence etcetera. Abolish that type of thought from your
mind for God shall not be mocked! And serious punishment awaits those that do, confess and turn away from that pride now. Yes, wealth can be a byproduct of your relationship with God (see Abraham, Jacob, Job…) However, Jesus Christ still reminded his apostles that whoever follows him should pick up their cross every day, that the son of man has no place to lay his head… Some days will be good some days will be bad but stay the same the same in Christ.