are you armed right now?
no concealed carry license needed to arm yourself in this way:
"since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh, no longer for human passions but for the will of God" 1 peter 4:1-2
it is important to have a right view of suffering, remembering that it decreases our love for sin and increases our love for God.
as i was thinking through this verse, i asked myself, "why do people arm themselves with weapons?". i thought of four reasons:
1. to fend off an attack
2. to give themselves confidence
3. as a preventative measure (if a robber suspects or knows you are armed, they probably wont attack you)
4. to get themselves in the mindset to be ready to defend themselves as any given moment
after writing these down, i realized how appropriate this imagery is of arming ourselves with right thinking about suffering. all of these purposes are paralleled.
1. to fend off an attack - when we have a right view of suffering, we can battle the temptation to be depressed, not trust God, etc when suffering comes.
2. to give yourself confidence - if you have a right view of suffering, you do not need to be worried about the possibility of suffering in the future.
3. as a preventative measure - you will be less likely to slip into depression if you have a right view on suffering as soon as it starts. also, the Enemy is less likely to attack you, knowing that his flaming darts will be extinguished by your strong shield of faith (ephesians 6:16)
4. to get yourself in the mindset to be ready for suffering - the fact is, you will suffer in your life on this earth because of the sin and brokenness in the world. so it makes sense to get ready for it. if you have the right mindset, you wont think, "oh poor me!", but you will think, "yes! i am ceasing from sin!!"