When The Toddler Is In Control
1 Peter 4 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
What does it mean when Paul says:
whoever suffers in the body is done with sin
Let’s read the rest of the verses to see what Paul is talking about.
2 – people who suffer in their body do not live the rest of their lives according to their body’s desires, but instead live for the will of God.
What are some examples of giving in to your body’s desires?
3 – debauchery (indulgence in sensual pleasures), lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing (drinking large amounts of alcohol while partying) and idolatry (giving something else in your life first place in your life before God).
4 – reckless, wild living.
So what does it mean to suffer in the body?
Let’s talk about toddlers!
What does a toddler want?
EVERYTHING IT SEES.
How does a toddler handle NOT getting what it wants?
It gets upset and has a temper tantrum.
Do you give in to a toddler having a tantrum and give them what they want?
Not if you can avoid it.
What happens when we give in to a toddler?
They learn that they are in control, and will expect you to give in to their demands every time. The tantrums will get worse.
Will a toddler choose wisely and make healthy and safe choices for itself?
What kind of choices will a toddler make?
Whatever makes them feel good at that moment, which is getting whatever they happen to want at that moment.
Should you give in to a toddler’s demands all the time, just to avoid a tantrum?
Does the toddler suffer when he doesn’t get what he wants?
Yes, he looks and acts as if he is in pain.
Do YOU suffer when the toddler acts like they are suffering?
Yes, they are annoying and aggravating, and sometimes heart breaking when they have been crying and can’t catch their breath.
But when both you and the toddler have endured the suffering of their not getting what they want, like running into a busy street, or hanging off of the stair rails, there is peace, and tragedy has successfully been averted because you were willing to endure the suffering of the toddler.
ENDURING THE SUFFERING DID AWAY WITH THE WRONG THE TODDLER WOULD HAVE COMMITTED.
Well, your body is the toddler in this example. It wants what it wants, and will rebel and revolt against you if it doesn’t get what it wants. It causes you misery when it it has set its sights on something (like someone else’s toy) and doesn’t get it immediately.
THE QUESTION IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU WILL SUFFER THROUGH YOUR BODY’S TANTRUM TO AVOID GIVING IN TO ITS EVERY DESIRE, ESPECIALLY THE HARMFUL ONES.
If you give in to every desire of your body just to avoid the uncomfortable feelings you will experience, basically, YOU HAVE LEFT THE TODDLER IN CHARGE!
What do we have to teach the toddler about getting what it wants whenever it wants it?
That it must learn to endure those negative feelings of unfulfillment, because it can’t have everything it wants, especially things that can harm it.
And does it learn how to endure you saying no to it and the bad feelings from unfulfillment?
So, if you endure a toddler’s tantrums until they learn to live without what it craves, you will eventually get less requests, and less backlash, because the toddler learns how to live without it.
Your body works in the same way. You have to train it how to do without what it wants, but that means that you must suffer in your body.
But once you get used to the living through the uncomfortable feelings of your body’s unfulfilled desires, you no longer give in to sin.
THAT is what it means when Paul says that when you have suffered in your body, you are done with sin. You only suffer in your body when you don’t give in to its desires, and not giving in to its desires leaves you sin-free.
So how do you learn to suffer in your body? By practicing experiencing the uncomfortable feelings and not giving in to them. It is a learned response, just like everything else you learn to do with your body and mind. In the morning, your body says that it wants to stay in bed, but you have to go to work to pay bills. So guess what you normally do? You get up and go to work. How do you manage it? By not doing what your body tells you to. It gets easier as you go, and you get used to the uncomfortable feelings.
why do we go to work when we want to stay in bed?
We get a reward for it (or the absence of negative consequences) that is more desirable than the reward for staying in bed.
So why then do you think we keep doing what we say we want to stop doing?
What do you say to yourself when you are faced with an immediate decision of whether or not to give in to the desire?
1) Expect the uncomfortable feelings to be so overwhelming that they will make us horribly miserable (we build it up and out of proportion); or
2) At the moment of decision, we tell ourselves the bad consequences of our actions don’t really matter that much, and don’t affect us or anyone else that badly.
We let our feelings at the moment, instead of the truth of the coming future consequences of our actions, override everything.
Colossians 3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life,appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander,and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Romans 6: 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.
Galatians 6: 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
We actually deceive ourselves because we don’t want to experience the uncomfortable feelings. We reason, but not truthfully. We say to ourselves what we want to hear.
Hear me clearly, that your sin affects others. There is always a ripple effect not only on yourself and those around you, but also on the Kingdom of God itself. YOUR ACTIONS ALWAYS REFLECT ON ME, because you are a “little Christ” – the literal meaning of a Christian.
When people see you they expect to see me, and you truly are the only Jesus some people will ever meet. What kind of Jesus are they meeting? A strong, powerful, sacrificially loving, merciful Jesus? Or a weak and defeated, self-centered Jesus? Your actions determine the answer.
Let’s go back to the toddler. WHY DO WE EVEN BOTHER TO TRAIN AND DISCIPLINE A TODDLER?
Because we want the toddler to have a long, healthy life, and be able to have good relationships with others. We have their future in mind, not just the present. Every time they act up, we as parents know what the result will be if we let this toddler have what it wants whenever it wants it, and does not learn discipline and obeying authority.
How often do we train the toddler?
Honestly, when we are tired and just want peace and quiet, we aren’t as diligent. We are too exhausted to get up out of the chair and do something about it. But otherwise, we keep training the toddler and saying NO because we keep their future well being in mind.
You know where to get the strength to say NO – from praying in the Holy Spirit, asking God to give you the strength and desire to live for Him and not your momentary feelings. The HOW is by repeatedly training your flesh by denying it.
You can actually practice denying it (think of fasting), build up a tolerance for those uncomfortable feelings. You will be amazed at how your body will get used to you saying no and, except for rare moments like a toddler when it is exhausted and just goes crazy, will come in line. BUT YOU HAVE TO EXERCISE YOUR SELF-DISCIPLINE LIKE A MUSCLE.
Deny yourself for just 15 minutes before giving in, then 30 minutes, then an hour. Learn how to live with the uncomfortable feelings.
But until you discipline yourself by learning to endure the negative feelings, and keeping your eyes focused on what you will reap from your actions in the future, you will continue to sin. If you will SUFFER IN YOUR BODY, you will DO AWAY WITH SIN.