1 Peter 4:1-2
4 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
I am considerably overweight. I am fairly confident that I am sinning by the way I am eating. I feel more secure when I am able to purchase whatever I feel like eating whenever I want. I often will eat candies or sweets when I am feeling emotionally drained or physically tired. Sometimes I will eat when I feel like things around me are beyond my control. None of these reasons for eating have to do avoiding starvation. They are all sinful uses of food.
It’s wild how we have some sins that we just don’t want to stop doing. We know they are bad and that we aren’t honoring God with our actions but yet with everything else going on we rationalize that it is okay that we indulge in this one sin or a series of sins. We reason, “At least we don’t beat our kids, cheat on our spouse, or rob banks, right”? I think this is dangerous approach to sin. Reading the passage from 1 Peter this morning I was reminded that Jesus died for all sin and its not just that He died for them He suffered in His physical body for them. I know that in the past when I have been successful in dealing with the way I consume food, my compliant was that I was always a little hungry. Often times it is that hunger I overeat to avoid, but could it be that hunger may just be the physical suffering I need to endure to make sure I don’t sin with food. I worry that we have been too conditioned into thinking that being free of sin comes at no cost to us physically. I think Peter’s exhortation above is exactly the approach we need to take when dealing with sin. He makes a correlation between physical suffering and putting down sin.
So what’s the take away?
For me I think I need to really evaluate the things in my life that dishonor God or put me at odds with Him. I think I also need to realize that in dealing with the things I need to identify there will probably be physical suffering involved in bringing those things in line with honoring God.
For me it means that I may be hungry most of the time, but that hunger will be a good indication that my sin of over-eating is dying.
For others it may mean:
Enduring headaches from caffeine withdrawal.
Enduring the mental anguish and physical results of quitting smoking.
Enduring the pain of waiting and saving for something instead of using credit.
Enduring the torment of lust and desire when refusing to engage pornography.
Whatever the sin, I am convinced there will be a physical suffering when resisting. Fortunately, that physical suffering is biblical and better yet as we suffer to die to our sins we honor the Gospel in that Jesus physically suffered to give us the ability to battle our temptations in the first place.
Heavenly Father, thank you God for your love and your desire to make us Holy. Father help us identify the sins in our lives and help us resist the temptations those sins present us. Father help us find peace in the physical suffering we may endure in the battle against the flesh. Please strengthen us with your Spirit so that we may not just overcome our sin but that our overcoming may stand a testimony and a witness to your Kingdom and to the work you have done in us. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.