If you want to win, you’ve got to put your body on the line.
Any contact sports player knows that pain is part and parcel of being in the game. The moment you step over that white line is the moment that your body no longer belongs to you, but to the team!
In fact, if you ask any contact sports player, they will tell you that the level that you are ready to suffer will determine your level of effectiveness in the game.
Once you have accepted that there is pain in the game, you are able to focus on the your role in the team and play more freely rather than worrying about protecting your body and playing defensively.
Peter wanted to encourage Christians all over the world to adopt this same attitude when it comes to following Jesus. If we are ready to suffer, we will no longer live a small, defensive life but will be set free to live large and pursue the adventure that God has planned for each of us:
‘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. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God’ – 1 Peter 4:1-2 (NLT)
For the Christians living at that time, doing what is right would almost guarantee some kind of suffering. Whether it was being made fun of, cut off from a family or community or even thrown into prison or being killed, being a Christian back then was a contact sport.
And it is no different today. Being a Christian is still a contact sport, and the more you are ready to suffer will determine your level of effectiveness in the game. If you are ready to suffer, you will no longer waste your time protecting or preserving yourself, but will be set free to do the will of God!
Get your game face on, because although there is pain in the game, there is so much more to gain!