Tonight I read the following verses in the Bible and they struck me so deeply.....
1 Peter 4:1-2
Therefore since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also WITH THE SAME PURPOSE, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
1 Peter 3:1-2
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be WON WITHOUT A WORD BY THE BEHAVIOR OF THEIR WIVES, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
1 Peter 2: 21-23
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, LEAVING YOU AN EXAMPLE FOR YOU TO FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS....and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but KEPT ENTRUSTING HIMSELF TO HIM WHO JUDGES RIGHTEOUSLY
When I read these verses it makes me think in broad terms about the word suffering. It seems like the suffering he's referring to is not just limited to a specific type of suffering. It makes me thing about ANYTHING, any circumstance, any situation, that is not going the way that I want it to. Any circumstance, any person, any interaction, any job or task that I'm supposed to do......"suffering" could mean doing anything that I don't WANT to do. And if it's something that broad, then that definitely makes me guilty.
I feel like he's saying not to......
complain about my circumstances.
gossip behind a person's back EVEN IF I KNOW I'M RIGHT.
let my thoughts focus on how I've been wronged and how I need to defend myself.
let my thoughts focus on the rights that I think I have or the good that I think I deserve because I have made the "right" choices.
Instead it says here that I am to "act like Jesus"......
not revile in return
utter no threats
entrust myself to God and allow Him to defend me "that they may be won by the behavior of their wives as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior"
I know that this verse is specifically talking to wives, but it also challenges me to act like Christ in front of EVERYONE, not just my husband. Although I must say, I think it's hardest with husband. My TRUE colors always seem to shine behind closed doors.
For me, I can be sweet, responsible, organized, understanding, a great listener, compassionate, giving of my time and energy to everyone else, but when I come home it's like every selfish cell in my body is unleashed. I want things done MY way, in MY time. I mean, after all, I am a wife who has to handle so many things with Chris' paralysis.....so don't I have a right to have everything done MY way?? Hmmm.....maybe not......bummer.
And so, as I read these verses again, I am convicted and my true humanity is shown to me....my selfishness, my self-righteousness, my pride.......hmmm is it truly possible to attain the perspective and behavior that Peter is talking about??
My eyes are drawn to the statement, "He kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously" - God, Jesus kept entrusting Himself to God in the midst of his suffering. So, maybe it is possible.....maybe, just maybe if I continue to give myself to God, surrendor myself to God each day, several times per day.....maybe I too can become this person that God desires me to be.
Maybe, just maybe, if I read my bible each day I'll come away from that time with a little different perspective than I had before.
Maybe, just maybe, if I pray each day I'll come away from that time with my heart a little more open to God and a little more patient towards people.
Maybe, just maybe, if I worship each day using songs that give praise, honor, and thanks to God I'll believe that this life is more about Him than it is about ME.....that, although He truly loves every part of me, the purpose of my life is meant to serve more than myself....maybe the real purpose is to serve Him.....in WHATEVER way HE desires.....not in whatever way I desire.
Oh Lord, it brings me to my knees again, humbled, realizing my inadequacies, asking for forgiveness, asking for mercy, asking for wisdom, asking for understanding, asking for strength - strength to trust You
strength to hold my tongue
strength to lay down MY desires for the desires of others.