Serious Minded Jesus Followers
1 Peter 4:7 ESV
“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”
As followers of Jesus, we are to take God, Jesus Christ (God the Son), his word, the gospel of our salvation, and his commands (New Covenant) to heart. We are to be serious minded about our Lord and about the Scriptures and about our walks of faith. We should never take God lightly.
This is not to say that we should all live in monasteries, and that we are to be on our knees 24/7, and that we are to go around with frowns on our faces, and that we are never to smile or laugh or enjoy the things God has given to us to enjoy. For, we are to live and walk in the joy of the Lord.
Being serious minded about God and about his word just means that we believe God and his word, and that we are listening to our Lord, and that we are putting the word of God into practice in our daily lives, and that we are following our Lord wherever he leads in doing what he commands.
We aren’t living for frivolity. Life is not one big joke or party to us. We aren’t joining in on ungodly conversations which deny the Lordship of Christ over our lives, or which mock our faith. We aren’t listening to all the same things and doing all the same things as the ungodly do, either.
If the Lord says that we are to live a certain way, then in submission to him, and in his power and strength, we walk in the way he laid out for us to walk, and we don’t keep living like we did before we believed in Jesus, living for sin and self, doing what the passions of our flesh desire.
Our lives are not out-of-control, living for our flesh, doing what the world dictates that we should do. But we now live under Holy Spirit control, and self-control means we are living for the glory of God and not for our flesh, and that we are living pure lives, in step with Jesus, and not in step with the world.
Keep Loving One Another
1 Peter 4:8-9 ESV
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
This love is not the kind the world talks about. It is not based in our emotions or the passions of our flesh, it is not selfish, it is not lustful, and it is not more concerned about what others think of us than it cares about what is best for them, i.e., what is God’s best for them.
So, this kind of love is not going to lie to people just to make them feel good inside. It doesn’t mean we go around being obtuse, just saying whatever we think without regard for how what we say may impact another, but we will speak the truth in love to others for their good to benefit them spiritually.
This kind of love, too, will do no willful harm to another. Therefore, if we love others we are not going to sin against them deliberately and habitually. We will not cheat, lie to, steal from, deceive, or murder (hate) those we profess to love. And we will not commit adultery against our spouses.
And when this says that love covers over a multitude of sins, it does not mean that we ignore sin, that we placate sin, that we approve of sin, that we hide deliberate sin, or that we give professers of faith in Jesus an excuse or an out to continue living in their deliberate and habitual sins.
Biblically, we are not to hide sins as though they don’t exist, we are not to placate willful and habitual sins, but we are to teach what the Scriptures teach about sin, and we are to help one another to not sin, and we are to confront sinful rebellion in the church which is hurting the body of Christ.
But we are to forgive people’s sins against us, not in the sense that we ignore sin or that we don’t speak out against sin, or that we don’t call people to repentance, for love rescues people from their slavery to sin and it gives them hope of freedom from sin to now walk in holiness and righteousness.
When Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery, he told her to go and sin no more. And that is what he tells us when he forgives our sin, for he died to deliver us from our slavery to sin so we would now be slaves to his righteousness. So, forgiveness holds no grudges, but love calls people out of bondage to sin and into the righteousness of God.
Serving One Another
1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
If we are followers of Jesus Christ, we are filled with the Spirit of God, and we have been given gifts of the Spirit and ministries within the body of Christ, our body parts. And we are to use these within the body of Christ for the strengthening and encouragement (exhortation) of the body.
And encouragement is not just a pat on the back or just saying “good job!” We are to encourage (urge, inspire, persuade) our fellow believers in Jesus to forsake their sins and to walk in holiness and righteousness. And we are to urge them to live no longer according to the flesh but now according to the Spirit. And we are to caution against deceiving spirits, too.
And where we see them walking with the Lord, and obeying his commands, and doing the good they ought to do, we need to encourage them in their walks of faith so that they don’t get discouraged. And we need to give them hope for their future that they can make it in the strength of the Lord.
To exercise these spiritual gifts and ministries, though, we must be walking in obedience to our Lord, not in sinless perfection necessarily, but no longer walking according to the flesh but now according to the Spirit. We must be listening to our Lord and allowing him to work his ministry through us.
So, if our ministry is speaking or writing, it is to be done in the power and under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit and not in our flesh. If our ministry is in serving others, then it must be done in the strength of the Lord and for the glory and praise of God. All must be done in the strength and power of God’s Spirit and in obedience to our Lord Jesus.
For our gifts and our spiritual ministries are of the Spirit of God and not of our flesh so they must be operated in the Spirit and not in our flesh. So, we don’t get to determine what we do or when or how or how much. We surrender our lives to the Lord, and we let him guide us in all things.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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