Thursday, January 10, 2013

Attaining the Spirit of Glory


Attaining the Spirit of Glory

 

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” – 1 Peter 4:17

Ah, the joy of following Christ and being labeled “church lady”, “greater-than-thou”, “Bible thumper”, “Jesus freak”, and so on!  Can I get an “amen” that this does get old from the Christian perspective?  Yet daily, we feel a desire to keep rowing our boat down the same river of life, to keep running the race that is before us.

Peter has much to say about the trials of living among those that do not believe in Christ.  In 1 Peter 4 he explains that life won’t be a bed of roses.  Unbelievers around us will not understand our new walk of life, and how can they if they don’t believe in Christ?  From the eyes of the unbeliever a Christian is being led to change their ways by an invisible force within their spirit, the mysterious (insert ghostly music) “voice within”. 

The friends you had back in the days of living without Christ will think this change in your desires is…well… weird!  In 1 Peter 4:4 he says, In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.” We often fear what we do not see, be it what is hiding in a dark room, or what we think is lurking in the soul of another.  And the name calling will happen, the friends suddenly don’t call, and you feel left alone in the world for a while.  This is where the body of Christ and the local church are to step in – to fill the void of friends who have decided not to be friends any more.

We understand that our spirit is the ‘real me’, filled with the Holy Spirit, and the flesh is just the covering.  The unbeliever cannot grasp this as a reality.  The YOU they see is the YOU they know.  So then the goal of the Christian is to live inside-out, to show what is inside.

We do this with acts of love, for “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Peter instructs us to be hospitable to each other, giving what you have to give to meet any need.  He tells us to do it without grumbling and complaining, because God loves a CHEERFUL giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Give of your resources, give of your time, and give as Christ gave.

As God gives us gifts for ministry (teaching, preaching, faith, prayer, self-control, etc…) we are to use those gifts openly – yes, even with the unbeliever!  God’s gifts didn’t come free.  We must be good stewards of the gifts we have received.  You CAN teach the word of God to an unbeliever.  That’s how we all became believers!  God provides the ability for us to minister, and from this “in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ”( 1 Peter 4:11). Simply telling your story of salvation, your small personal pray victories,  enables those who do not believe to understand the change in you.

As much as I’d like to say “oh, the walk with Christ gets easier the longer you do it”, I’d be lying.  The world does not change just because you change.  Yet, there is a prize to be awarded for your suffering.  After all the ridicule, 1 Peter 4:14 saysIf you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you”. The Spirit of God rests upon you, bringing power to your life.  The Spirit of glory is given to you, because your life shines a light on Christ for others to see.  You don’t endure the ridicule alone, for the Holy Spirit is with you.  He will never leave you. 

Christ has already suffered the ridicule and remarks, and so much more.  If we are to be like Christ, we must accept the pain He endured along with the pleasure of His company.  We will also accept boldly the power and the glory of God!

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