I am taking my cue from 1 Peter 4:1 and Christ’s way of thinking. Let’s fly through Peter and try to learn about the mindset of Christ who suffered:
“And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1Pet 2:4-5 NAS95S)
The living stones of the living temple must have a resemblance to the cornerstone. This is a tremendously high calling, though it will not be so in the eyes of unbelievers.
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;” (1Pet 2:21-23 NAS95S)
The results and the reactions are not my responsibility: they are God’s. The goals will not be accomplished by forcefulness or persuasiveness of personality or words. It is the gentle approach; the suffering approach. Peter wants to bring this home to us as well by using nearly the same closing line with regard to Christian sufferers in 4:19 “Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” (1Pet 3:18 NAS95S)
Divine purposes. That’s what Christ had in his heart as he suffered: God’s purpose “that he might bring us to God.” If I am to “sanctify Christ as Lord in (my) heart,” then perhaps a part of that is to sanctify also Christ’s purpose, which is to bring people to God, to gather more living stones by portraying and proclaiming the beauty of a suffering Christ to people around us.
“Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,” (1Pet 4:1 NAS95S)
Dedication to the will of God. That was the theme of Christ’s life. Peter is warning people like me that if I am not so dedicated, then I will indeed be dedicated to “the lusts of men.” I have to be honest and careful about sin. It is not only damaging and destructive; it is a red flag that I am not pursuing the will of God, which was the mind-set of Christ.