Living for God
1Christ suffered in his body. So get ready as a soldier does. Prepare yourselves to think in the same way Christ did. Do it because those who have suffered in their bodies are finished with sin. 2As a result, they don't live the rest of their lives on earth controlled by evil human longings. Instead, they live to do what God wants.
3You have spent enough time in the past doing what ungodly people choose to do. You lived a wild life. You longed for evil things. You got drunk. You went to wild parties. You worshiped statues of gods. The Lord hates that.
4Ungodly people think that it's strange when you no longer join them in what they do. They want you to rush into the same flood of wasteful living. So they say bad things about you.
5But they will have to explain their actions to God. He is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6That's why the good news was preached even to people who are now dead. Human judges said they were guilty as far as their bodies were concerned. But God set their spirits free to live as he wanted them to.
7The end of all things is near. So keep a clear mind. Control yourselves. Then you can pray. 8Most of all, love one another deeply. Love erases many sins by forgiving them. 9Welcome others into your homes without complaining.
10God's gifts of grace come in many forms. Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others. You should use it faithfully. 11If you speak, you should do it like one speaking God's very words. If you serve, you should do it with the strength God provides. Then in all things God will be praised through Jesus Christ.
Give him the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Suffering for Being a Christian
12Dear friends, don't be surprised by the painful suffering you are going through. Don't feel as if something strange were happening to you. 13Be joyful that you are taking part in Christ's sufferings. Then you will be filled with joy when Christ returns in glory.
14Suppose people make fun of you because you believe in Christ. Then you are blessed, because God's Spirit rests on you. He is the Spirit of glory. 15Suppose you suffer. Then it shouldn't be because you are a murderer or a thief. It shouldn't be because you do evil things. It shouldn't be because you poke your nose into other people's business. 16But suppose you suffer for being a Christian. Then don't be ashamed. Instead, praise God because you are known by that name.
17It is time for people to be judged. It will begin with the family of God. And since it begins with us, what will happen to people who don't obey God's good news? 18Scripture says, "Suppose it is hard for godly people to be saved.
Then what will happen to ungodly people and sinners?" (Proverbs 11:31)
19Some people will suffer because God has planned it that way. They should commit themselves to their faithful Creator. And they should continue to do good.