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, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1-2 ESV)
Peter is advising us to follow Christ’s example by living for the will of God. When we are devoted to him, our own desires will gradually weaken because we strive to experience complete satisfaction in whatever pleases him. I believe that is what David meant when he wrote: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). This does not mean God will give us what we want, but rather he compels us to crave what he desires.
Imagine being in synchrony with the Holy Spirit and following his lead wherever he goes. He wouldn’t lead us into sinful temptations because that is not his nature; there is no hint of evil in his disposition. However, me living in the flesh is a different story because there is a conflict between good and evil within me. Paul perfectly described this phenomenon when he wrote:
“For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:22-24).
He understood the struggle of sin, and how difficult it is to resist the temptations that sneak into our own minds. So he charges us to lean on the work of Jesus, being the saving sacrifice for our sins, so that we are empowered to walk with the Spirit and ignore the impulses of our flesh.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5).
Have you ever tried to decide the next meal or recreational activity with your family? You ask them, “What would you like to eat, or what would you like to do?” And they respond with, “You decide. We are good with whatever you want.”
What if we took that same approach with Jesus? What if we each said to him, “You decide. I am good with whatever you want?” Would you be so daring to say that and commit to it?
Sure! Why not? Let’s be adventurous and allow him to take us on the tour of our lives! Wouldn’t it be cool to see what he sees, or hear what he hears? Wouldn’t it be amazing to eyewitness miracle after miracle? I personally love to see lives changed for the better, and if not that, then perhaps the ability to travel places that God created for our enjoyment, where all the sites and wonders point to him.
Is it possible that we can be so busy with the pleasures of God that we would not have any time to sin? We would not know unless we earnestly tried to follow him at all times.