“In all this, they (your old pre-Jesus, you-only-go-round-once-in-life crowd) are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you.” 1 Peter 4:4.
For lots of us, accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior causes some unfamiliar life challenges in our circle of influence. Suddenly we’re on the outs with many who used to call us their friends. Their attitude towards us changes. We often become the target of insults and ridicule. We find our “old friends” don’t want to be friends anymore. As we pursue new relationships, new behaviors and a new direction, our new life in Christ can often become a lightning rod for recriminations from those we used to run with when we were living in the flesh. Despite the criticism from our old friends living in the flesh, we need to make every day count and live effective and obedient lives in God’s assignment for us.
Peter teaches us in 1 Peter 4:1-11 that those old friends “are surprised (shocked) that you do not run with them into the same excesses.” v 4:4. If we understand that our responsibility is to follow God’s will, we will shock some. Our decision, though is simply proof that the Gospel of Christ has changed our life. They are shocked because they don’t understand the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in our life. They are shocked because our life has changed and we are new creations and we don’t act or speak the same way anymore. Sometimes this life transformation even shocks non-believers members in our own family.
As a result of the transformation in our lives and the shock to our old friend and family Peter encourages us to, “live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” v. 4:2. Peter urges us to make every day of our lives count. To live an effective life in God’s will. Our purpose in life must be centered in His will. If we don’t we won’t discover His direction and we will flounder. We will miss the essence of His purpose for us.
And, if we don’t remain obedient to His purpose and will for our lives, our pursuits could lead to ultimate devastation. Satan wants to tempt us to slip away from His will into sensuality or unlimited indulgence, destructive wild parties and lusts or passions for the wrong things. He wants us to worship false idols. Anyone or anything we like more than God is a false idol. Or if we want someone to like us more than you like God, that is idol worship.
If we’re going to avoid the pitfalls of idol worship and live an effective life in God’s will for our lives we must accept our assignment. Peter teaches us, “as each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
We need to realize God’s clock is eternal. If we see God’s time as eternal, then everything will be seen as part of His purpose. If we do, we understand something. Everything that happens, every event, every trial, every blessing, every bit of grace, every discipline are all part of God’s purpose and plan for our lives.
We also need to recognize the goal. We need to live attentively. We need to always be aware of life going on around us. If we aren’t attentive to the way God is moving in our lives and the lives of others, we may find that the opportunities presented to us may not come again. It is also necessary that we live a controlled life. A life controlled by the Holy Spirit living in us.
We also need to live with a fervent love. A fervent love contains an energy that can take you were God wants you to go. A fervent love carries you beyond your thoughts to His purpose.
Then, living as a willing servant will insure that you are living in God’s will for your life. The prayer of a willing servant should be, “Lord, I want to do whatever it takes to make it happen for your glory.”
So hang on to the things that matter, and let loose of the things that don’t. If you run with Jesus, every day will count and you will understand and accept God’s assignment for your life.