Do What Jesus Did?
The Peter passage is one of the most difficult and challenging passages you’ll ever read. The context goes from 1 Peter 2:18 to 1 Peter 3:7. It’s important to get the context, because of how he takes his preamble on suffering (2:18-25) and applies it to marriage (3:1-7).
In 1 Peter 2:18-25, he develops a robust theology of suffering as he connects the heart of your “mist-life” to the Savior. He says that there is a call upon you to suffer, just as your Savior lived out His call to suffer. He then appeals to you to walk in His steps. The irony here is this verse was the premise for the book by Charles Sheldon called In His Steps. You may not know of Sheldon’s book, but you probably remember the slogan that came from it—WWJD.
Back in the ’90s, the Christian community went bonkers over WWJD. The context for that idea was all about suffering. You are called to suffer. The slick bracelets were cutesy, but the reality of genuinely living that kind of life is like thunder and lightning in the soul. Dying a martyr’s death is far more traumatizing than wearing a high-gloss bracelet or making millions by placing it on T-shirts and hats so the Christian community can sport their relevance and herd mentality.
You’ll know if your WWJD bracelet is authentically working for you the next time someone breaks your heart. When you step out onto the courthouse steps, just after the judge declares you divorced and in a matter of seconds you lose your wife and children.
That is the moment when the evil in this world crushes your life and either your faith will carry you through, or it will disappear like a worn out novelty bracelet. Though WWJD was a cool fad, it won’t help you in trauma. Your help won’t come from what’s on your wrist, but what is in your heart.
Problem-Centered or God-Centered?
Biff was a relevant Christian, but the power of the gospel did not shape his heart. The gospel talks about someone murdering a man who came to earth to live a Christian life—or in this case, that man was the Christ.
The mind-bending other side of the gospel talks about a heavenly Father permitting those evil people to murder His Son. Isaiah said it was the will of the Lord to crush His one and only Son (Isaiah 53:10). We have two ways to look at this problem.
- On one side we see a man being put to death by cruel people—all true.
- On the other side, we see a man being crushed by His Father—all true.
These two concepts are essential for you to know. Both of them are true. Yes, God allowed sin to happen to a perfect person. Yes, God can use sin sinlessly. It would be interesting for you to diagnose how you think about the problems that come into your life.
- Do you see your problems primarily as what is happening to you on earth, by evil people or evil circumstances?
- Do you see your problems primarily as your heavenly Father being up to something profound in your life?
Both of these things are true, but one of these ideas should have primacy in your heart. Which one? Sadly, if you are problem-centered and can only think about the evil that is happening to you at this moment, you’ll miss the truth of a kind Father working in your life.
If you primarily see the bad stuff happening to you as part of God’s story that He is writing for His glory, you will be right in line with His thinking. This perspective will also position you to receive “amazing grace” that will assist you through your ordeal.
Your heart perspective about the Lord will set your life trajectory. Jesus had a higher and greater worldview than just this life. He had a vision for a great ending, which gave Him empowering endurance for the suffering He went through on earth.
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2
Do You Believe God?
Jesus believed His Father and was willing to come to earth to endure harsh suffering because He knew there was a greater good. Do you believe in God? More than likely you’re going to say, “Yes,” and well you should.
But I’m asking a more in-depth question. I’m talking about a faith that transcends your pain and suffering. I’m talking about an enduring faith, not a Sunday school faith. The only thing that will give you the power to endure these kinds of trials is this kind of faith in God.
Only God can sustain you through your trials. Your job is to believe (faith) Him. You must know (faith) that He is working for you, even when you can’t see Him (Hebrews 11:27). You must be confident (faith) that He will not ultimately let you down.
You must hope (faith) that no matter what comes your way, God is there and He is working out a better future for you. This confidence is the kind of faith I’m talking about for you. It’s faith alone in God alone.
You may not get your self-defined best life now, but if you rightly position your faith in God alone, you can have a surprising and satisfying experience. The real question is, “What do you want?” What would make you happy?
The way you answer that question is by asking a better question. It goes like this: “I could be happy if __________________.” There is only one right answer to that question. It is something like: “I could be happy if God were my King. Period.”
“This is the first and greatest commandment: You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Nothing else can be equal with God or more significant than God. It is God alone. This truth was why Christ was willing to give up His life. He knew that He would be OK.
Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. – Matthew 10:28