“live for the rest of the time … by the will of God. Let the time that is past suffice for doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness… and lawless idolatry.” (1Pet 4:2-3)
After the victory of Jesus Christ, Peter now points his listeners to a future where they should be controlled by the will of God, as opposed to the past where they were controlled by the rebellious nature. Christ’s victory is the source of the believer’s power to live by the will of God. In the past, another force controlled this person and mauled him in the mire of all that ‘the Gentiles like to do…’ How would you face that force – like the Philistine that kept Israel in bondage until David appeared? No, until a boy that trusted in the power of God appeared. Only this trust could salvage this nation. Israel was dismayed, terrified, deeply shaken and greatly afraid. They couldn’t advance to fight, they couldn’t pray, they couldn’t think, they couldn’t answer the challenge! Some vices listed above grip like a strong man, and Peter knows no other power to beat them other than Jesus Christ.
How do you face difficult times? Let us quickly observe (in 1Sam 17) that when all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified, they had only heard the Philistine’s words – and they had not considered the Lord God with them. One way to face such frightening situations is to freeze and go numb as one stung and paralyzed, or to panic in fear just as the Israelites were greatly shaken. When all you hear are the words of that enemy and all you see is the large size of that problem and all you think about is the complexity of the situation, your strength will go down and it can make you sick. Yes, we may hear the Philistine’s words – the times may be difficult and the load may be heavy, but we should not succumb and respond without hearing some more – hearing from the Lord God who is on our side.
Even the Philistine, he was looking at the armies of Israel and saying, ‘I defy…’ – thinking, this is just another nation; he had not considered the God of that nation, who is also a mighty fighter. This ignorance continued when he spoke to David contemptuously… but he learnt some news when David responded with words and action: ‘I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel’ (1Sam 17:45). This is the winning posture: Listen all the way; when you hear what God is saying, the Philistine’s words will not shake you. When you know the Power of God who is with you, you can face that mountain with confidence that you will surmount it.
Jesus Christ was the ultimate revelation of God’s power to win – God’s power to overcome every bondage physical or spiritual. Living for God is the ultimate purpose of your creation, and the way to fulfill this purpose is only in Christ Jesus. May the Lord be your light daily that you will live to the fullness of God’s purpose for your life.