Arm yourselves with the same mind.

He that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin

The Christian view of suffering and pleasure.

1 Peter 4:1-2

38th Wednesday after Pentecost

 

1 Peter 4:1-2 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

 

 

Our life must be an emulation of Christ. He voluntarily suffered; we must VOLUNTARILY suffer. This idea is not well known or well-liked among many people, including Christians.

 

In emulating Christ, we acquire His mind – we think like Him, act like Him, and begin to understand Him. Since salvation is to know God (“and this is eternal life, that they may know Thee the true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent”), it is essential that we acquire the mind of Christ. There is NO other way to do this except to emulate Christ, with God helping us.

 

The Apostle explains why this is important, and here is the Christian understanding of pleasure: “he that suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”

 

To experience pleasure is not sinful in and of itself, but to seek pleasure above God darkens the mind. If we are pleasure seeking creatures, we cannot cease from sin. We must have the mentality of a soldier, who is willing to forgo pleasure to fulfill his mission.

 

It is not the “suffering” that causes us to “cease from sin”, but the willingness to suffer in order to follow God only. There is much suffering in the world that does not purify us, because we do not experience it seeking God. If we suffer in any way because of our attempt to follow God and Him only, this suffering will purify us (over time, not all at once), “like gold in the furnace”.

 

The Fathers talk a lot about “attachment” and how important it is to free ourselves from this passion. The more free we are from attachment (which is always associated in some way with pleasure, and our own desires) the less we sin, because our motivations will change to spiritual ones.

 

Christians are not “anti-pleasure”, but against the seeking of pleasure above God. If we are honest with ourselves, we all do this, and this is why we still sin.

 

As we think so we are. Let us desire above all things to acquire the mind of Christ, and we will become like Christ.

 

 

The full epistle reading for the 38th Wednesday after Pentecost

 

1 Peter 4:1-11 1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011.   St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

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