Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sin vs. Suffering


I've been thinking about it more often lately...

...facing my own struggles and failures with it, and hearing about others' struggles with it.  I have had several great conversations with people this summer about sinful patterns and habits, about accepting God's forgiveness and grace, and even about pursuing freedom from sin.

Frankly, I have been feeling a little sick of giving in so easily lately and seemingly not even fighting much. As I was reading 1 Peter the other day, this verse stuck out to me:
"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)
As I meditated on it, it became more practical to me and I decided to memorize it to use as a weapon against temptation (so feel free to quiz me on it). It helps remind me precisely of that about which it speaks - the "way of thinking". I haven't spent much time studying it, but from it I understand that sin and suffering seem to be opposed, just as human passions and the will of God seem to be opposed. Now, I would not go generalizing this to all of suffering, but in this passage I see this juxtaposition of sin and suffering, that if one is suffering then one is not sinning, and if one is sinning then one is not suffering.

For example, as many (or all) people do, I experience sexual desires and struggle with wanting to satisfy them in one way or another (hopefully this is not too much information...I know it is risky for me to even put this out on the internet, but it is the easiest example I have). Part of those desires are good and God-given, but there is a part of them - my desire for instant gratification, for instance - that gets classified as "human passions". But in his will, where he has me in life, he has not provided a way for those desires to be satisfied right now. So, if I give in to that sin, my human passion is gratified and my flesh does not suffer. But, if I do not give in to those desires, then my flesh suffers, and I cease from that sin, at least that time around. I don't know, seems pretty simple to me...not to say that it is easy though.

What do you think? How could this be applied to your life?

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