These last few weeks I have had ample opportunity to log some miles walking. This is fortunate for Teddy, our one year old Rough Collie. While previously he would get walked a few times a week, each day now brings the invitation for some exercise. He’s great on leash; however, he is quickly lured off course by another dog. He doesn’t bark, but I think he misses play dates as much as my kids do! He pulls and whines, wanting to chase after whatever potential playmate might be nearby.
I find myself acting the same way. As a human being, I am a creature of desire. Author and theologian, James K.A. Smith, says,
To be human is to have a heart. You can’t not love. So the question isn’t whether you will love something as ultimate; the question is what you will love as ultimate. And you are what you love.James K.A. Smith – You Are What You Love
If I get Tillamook Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream on my brain, that’s all I can think about! If I am wanting to take the waders out and go cast a line to some fish, my mind is like a dog with a bone! While these may be more benign desires (the ice cream certainly isn’t benign to the seams on my jeans), we often find ourselves craving things that are incredibly damaging. We end up chasing after things that inevitably cause our own destruction.
Our desire to make money can keep us at the office or the jobsite late and on weekends, destroying our relationships with our spouses, children, and friends. It also wreaks havoc on our own personal and spiritual health.
Our desire for pleasure takes us to overconsumption, or misconsumption (made up word, but I feel like I’ve earned one . . .) of food, sex, and leisure; our consumption can go beyond providing mere enjoyment, and degenerate into an unhealthy coping mechanism.
Our desire for power causes us to manipulate others in our quest for influence.
The list can go on and on. Our desires not submitted to the will of God are not just benign ideas; rather, they can actually pull us into places we would rather not go.
Peter today reminds us that by “suffering well”, meaning experiencing and even submitting to suffering in order to transform us, that we won’t have to “spend the rest of our lives chasing our own desires.”
The motion of a passing dog doesn’t have to take us to a place of distraction. Peter today invites us to be “anxious to do the will of God.” S.O.A.P. is an important tool designed to place our desires back in their rightful place: under the LORDSHIP of God. He is King and has the right and ability to rule, even over our internal desires. Today as you read, allow the suffering of Christ to realign your heart back towards the correct desires.
As a reminder, here are our steps for S.O.A.P.:
- Find a quiet place and read the SCRIPTURE of the day. Read it again. Read it slowly. Read it out loud!
- What OBSERVATIONS did you make? What does this passage teach you about God or yourself? Are there any calls to action? Do you have any questions?
- How will you make APPLICATION of this scripture and live your life differently today in light of what you just read? Be specific!
- Let it marinate. Take some time for PRAYER – thank God, confess any shortcomings, and ask to be empowered. Sit for a few moments and see if God has anything else for you.
Here is our passage for the day:
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. 2 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. 3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.1 Peter 4:1–3 (NLT)