Suffering causes a shift in the mind and heart of a person in regards to sin. When people suffer, they think differently. Their values and decisions are altered significantly. Peter said, “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).
The suffering that’s mentioned in the previous chapter (1 Peter 3) is for the sake of righteous living. “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing (1 Peter 3:8-9). In their suffering, the natural human tendency is to respond according to how we are treated. But we are to be righteous in character regardless of the situation.
Jesus also suffered. But his suffering was much beyond the physical pain. He did not retaliate when he was attacked. He silently suffered their abuse, although he could have easily called on all the heavenly resources available to him. His inward suffering was of a much greater degree than the bodily torture.
He knew that he could retaliate. He had every right to respond, but he willfully chose not to. He did not have to allow the abuse but he held back from retaliating or asking for help from his Father. That mental struggle was possibly the greatest suffering of our Master. The sufferings of Jesus caused a significant mental shift in him that He was fully devoted to the will of His father and lived a life free of sin.
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Alexi George is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He is devoted to helping people live their potential.
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