“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. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life 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.” (Reference: 1 Peter 4:1-3 )
I can not get past the first sentence of this verse. It just does not resonate with me. I think it is because I am a person who has suffered in my body – not as Christ suffered because the implication is that Christ suffered unto death. And once I get past that first sentence, the meaning of the passage becomes clear. But that first verse just holds me up.
So I sat with it until I saw my way through it. And really, once I sat with it I could see how it can apply to me, and perhaps to others that suffer bodily. We (meaning those that suffer from bodily ailments) can get so consumed by our suffering that we can see little else. Our suffering so overwhelms up and takes over our lives that we allow that to pus away Christian considerations.
Now before you get all heated up and take to me task, just listen! When we suffer bodily (or even emotional/psychological suffering) we CAN tend to make that our focus. Our world (because of our pain) revolves around us and we just can’t/won’t see anything else. Everything becomes in service to our pain, alleviating our pain, and (this is the big one) compensating us for our pain. We CAN tend to think that because we are in pain, God’s laws can be bent for our benefit. But that is not so! Yes, God has utter and complete compassion for our pain, suffering etc. Never doubt that! But God has the same level of compassion for everyone else. We can’t/shouldn’t slide by because of our pain and suffering. And if we “worship” our pain – that is use it to take advantage of every situation we can – that just about satisfies the criteria for idolatry!
Christ put his pain to work to save us all. Now, we can’t put our pain to work as Christ did; but what we can do is be sensitive and aware of the pain of others because we know what it is like to be in pain. And if we can spread hope and compassion to those who are in pain, because we know what pain is, then we have taken on in part the work of Christ.
We who live with pain are not likely to indulge in “debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing” and other such sins. Heck, we don’t have the physical ability too! But we know what our sins are. And God is merciful with us. More merciful than with those who are pain free? Well, . . . I don’t know the mind of the Divine but since we can wallow in God’s love and comfort I don’t think it matters (or should matter) if others wallow in it too.
I hope and pray beloved that you do not live in pain. If you do may God’s blessing be upon you and lift you up. And may you look forward to the day that all creation lives pain free! Selah!