Weaponize Your Mind

1 Peter 4:1–6

Christlike thinking is essential for Christlike living. To weaponize our thoughts is a prerequisite for a victorious life in this present darkness.

In the 1991 Gulf War Saddam Hussein, the then Leader of Iraq, attacked a tiny neighboring nation, Kuwait. The United States and Israel, allied together, launched measures against Iraq to fend off its invasion of Kuwait. You may recall that the US deployed its Patriot Anti-Ballistic Surface to Air Missile system to shoot down enemy SCUD missiles that were launched at Israel and Saudi Arabia. At the time of war, the U.S. claimed that 41 of 42 enemy SCUD missiles were effectively shot out of the sky and prevented from hitting their targets and killing allied forces. 

With that as an introduction, there is one command in our text today. It is found in the first verse: 1 Peter 4:1 “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,” 

As I thought about what it means for believers to “arm our thinking” I thought about the Gulf War and the Patriot Missile System. My mind was also drawn to 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

My aim in this message is to weaponize our minds with the mind of Christ. Think of the passions of the flesh as SCUD missiles launched from the desires of your heart. They seek to assault what we know to be obedience to Christ and the will of God. If we are to be successful in living an honorable life, we must weaponize our minds against these enemy assaults.  

In what ways are we to weaponize our thoughts for spiritually victorious living?

I. The first way we weaponize our thoughts is to arm them regarding suffering (1-2).

•     How do we weaponize our thoughts about suffering the way Jesus did?

1.   Jesus didn’t suffer because of any sin of his own. Therefore, we should determine not to suffer because of our own sin (1 Peter 2:22). 

2.   Jesus didn’t deceive others in order to avoid suffering. Therefore, we should determine not to deceive our way out of suffering (1 Peter 2:22).

3.   Jesus didn’t threaten his way out of suffering. Therefore, we ought not to make threats against our accusers (1 Peter 2:23). 

4.   Jesus continuously entrusted his cause to God the Father who judges justly. Therefore, this is to be our response of faith (1 Peter 2:23). 

5.   Jesus saw his suffering in light of the greater good of our healing. Therefore, we ought to see the spiritual benefits of our sufferings (2:24).

Application Questions: 

  • Note in your Bible each occurrence of “in the flesh” and “in the spirit” from 1 Peter 3:18 through 4:6. What do these phrases mean in their context? 
  • In 1 Peter 3:18-4:1, Peter uses baptism (immersion into Christ) as our appeal to God for a good conscience. Compare these teachings to Romans 6:1-12. What does being immersed (baptized) into Christ mean for the believer? 
  • Of the 5 thoughts/attitudes of Christ toward suffering noted from 1 Peter 2:22-24, which one(s) is/are most compelling and needful for you and why? How can you begin to arm your thinking with these thoughts?

II. The second way we weaponize our thoughts is to arm them regarding sin (3-5).

•     How do we weaponize our thoughts with the same way of thinking regarding sin that Christ had? 

1.   We now live with a hatred for our human passions and a love for the will of God (1 Peter 4:2-3).

2.   While those who oppose us are surprised and malign us, we are not surprised and rejoice in hope of Christ’s glory (1 Peter 4:4-5, 12-13). 

3.   We arm our minds with a hope for the grace that is coming at the revelation of Jesus (1 Peter 1:13) as we abstain from the passions of the flesh (1 Peter 2:11-12) and bless those who slander us (1 Peter 3:9) and love our brothers and sisters (1 Peter 4:7-8), all the while resisting sin and standing firm in the faith (1 Peter 5:8-10). 

Application Questions: 

  • How are you specifically tempted to sin when under the pressures of trials and sufferings? In addition to Peter’s list of sins consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Galatians 5:19-21. 
  • As you consider combatting those temptations, study Galatians 5:16-25, Ephesians 6:10-20, and Romans 8. What specific role do the Spirit of God, the Gospel of Jesus, and our readiness to do battle play in our battle to kill the passions of our flesh? 
  • What has surprised you most about suffering in your life? Can you identify times when you suffered for various reasons: your own sin; the sin of others against you; or simply the presence of sin in the world? How did you respond to suffering and what did you learn and how did you grow spiritually? 

III. The third way we weaponize our thoughts is to arm them regarding salvation (6).

•     How does our salvation become a weapon in the arsenal of our minds to defeat the passions of the flesh and to live victoriously in the will of God?

1.   Contemplate the imperishable seed from which you have been born again (1 Peter 1:22-23). 

2.   Contemplate the righteousness of Christ in which you are now clothed (1 Peter 2:24). 

3.   Contemplate the reconciliation which Christ has brought to reality between you and God (1 Peter 3:18). 

4.   Contemplate the justice of God on the day of judgment (1 Peter 4:13). 

5.   Contemplate the glory of Christ and His eternal dominion (1 Peter 5:10-11). 

Application Questions: 

  • What’s different about you today versus what you were like before you met Christ? Write out the differences and give thanks to God for how He’s grown you. 
  • Take each element of the gospel listed above (imperishable seed, Christ’s righteousness now yours, reconciliation to God, justice of God, and the glory of Christ) and write a paragraph reflecting on how each one serves to strengthen you under trials and sufferings. 

Take these 13 essential thoughts and prayerfully load them into your mind, so that you will be more successful in fending off the enemy of your soul.