A Matter of Time

3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.
4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;
5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 1 Peter 4:3-5

The suffering most often experienced by believers is not capture and torture, but ridicule for a holy lifestyle. The world relentlessly pursues a course of sensuality, with all its lusts, which manifest in drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. These “excesses of dissipation” are “run into” with a likeminded entourage.

With Christ at the helm, the believer begins to, or has now adopted, a lifestyle that steers clear of what your grandparents’ preacher called “riotous living.” In fact, he or she may have advanced to where they hesitate at doing anything that might present even the appearance of evil. For this, they suffer criticism and ostracization.

It’s all about the use of time. Peter says the time already spent is sufficient enough to follow evil cravings and impulses. Now, for the rest of the time, we are to live for the will of God.

Are you drawing any fire for your holy lifestyle? Have you gone through a time of ridicule because you no longer want to be a part of certain practices? Have you had to separate from old friends because they’re still running into what you now know as sin? Are so-called Christians egging you on to do things that could be done to excess–given a little loss of inhibitions–and attempting to shame you into taking part, and you’re resisting?

If so, you are where you need to be. Because you are exhibiting the kind of fear that knows someday you’ll give an “account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for nearly 45 years and counting.
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