When my cousins would come over for a family gathering, the level of noise from all of us talking at once, trying to get our own way in a game, or trying to imitate the wrestlers we saw on Saturday Night would cause our parents to finally shout, “Stop what you’re doing, be quiet for a while, we can’t hear ourselves think!” I’m smiling and laughing recalling some of those times of “love” expressed. As that precocious, onery child who had different thoughts and ideas than most people, I remember thinking; how can noise cause you to stop thinking? I learned quickly not to always say my thoughts out loud for I had enough experience and training to know that would not go well for me. Thinking and acting on that thinking was a learning process.
There was a man in Jesus group of followers who didn’t stop to think before blurting out whatever was on his mind. When faced with a new situation, he thought he had all the answers and told everyone. When faced with what could be trouble for the group, he “shot from the hip” which means to act first, think later. His ego prompted rash behaviors and caused a lot of problems for the team as he walked with Jesus in all kinds of situations. He even cut off the ear of a would-be attacker. Once again, he did this without thinking through the consequences of his immediate response to trouble. He got perturbed at Jesus’ questions when probed about the depth of his love for Jesus. He said, “I will never leave you” to Jesus, then a few hours later, denied knowing Jesus not once, but three times!
Why did Jesus keep this guy on the team?
Jesus knew that learning to be like Him is a process that does not happen overnight. Jesus knew Peter’s heart. Jesus also knew the potential in Peter to be the rock-solid leader of the entire group after He would ascend back to heaven after saving the world of sin—our sin and Peter’s sins. So, Jesus was patient with Peter while He taught this man who needed extra grace. Jesus forgave and restored Peter when Peter repented. No one knows better than Peter, the writer in this very passage, that learning to think like Jesus is lifelong, committeed process.
Stop listening to the noise of the world. Listen to the Voice above all others clamoring for our attention and hear, really hear from the One and Only who loves us most and will forgive us of all sin. Because of his relentless love for us, there is nothing that we have done that He will not forgive. Jesus will keep us on “his team” of followers while He teaches us to think more and more like Him. The peace of Christ dwells in us as we learn to think more like the One who saves us.
Peter figured this out and became exactly who Jesus said he would be—all for God’s glory and for the building of his church—that would be us!
1 Peter 4, The Message
Learn to Think Like Him
1-2 Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
3-5 You’ve already put in your time in that God-ignorant way of life, partying night after night, a drunken and profligate life. Now it’s time to be done with it for good. Of course, your old friends don’t understand why you don’t join in with the old gang anymore. But you don’t have to give an account to them. They’re the ones who will be called on the carpet—and before God himself.
6 Listen to the Message. It was preached to those believers who are now dead, and yet even though they died (just as all people must), they will still get in on the life that God has given in Jesus.
7-11 Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
Glory Just Around the Corner
12-13 Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.
14-16 If you’re abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It’s the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. If they’re on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that’s a different matter. But if it’s because you’re a Christian, don’t give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!
17-19 It’s judgment time for God’s own family. We’re first in line. If it starts with us, think what it’s going to be like for those who refuse God’s Message!
If good people barely make it,
What’s in store for the bad?
So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it.
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know.
I trust in you alone for my salvation. I trust in You to teach me to be all that you created me to be and then do. I trust you to forgive me daily of lack of focus at times. I trust you to love me forever. Help me to think more and more like you so I will respond and act more and more like you in this world so people will see you in me.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen