1 Christ suffered while he was in his body. So you should strengthen yourselves with the same kind of thinking Christ had. The one who accepts suffering in this life has clearly decided to stop sinning. 2 Strengthen yourselves so that you will live your lives here on earth doing what God wants, not the evil things that people want to do. 3 In the past you wasted too much time doing what those who don’t know God like to do. You were living immoral lives, doing the evil things you wanted to do. You were always getting drunk, having wild drinking parties, and doing shameful things in your worship of idols.
4 Now those “friends” think it is strange that you no longer join them in all the wild and wasteful things they do. And so they say bad things about you. 5 But they will have to face God to explain what they have done. He is the one who will soon judge everyone—those who are still living and those who have died. 6 Some were told the Good News before they died. They were criticized by others in their life here on earth. But it was God’s plan that they hear the Good News so that they could have a new life through the Spirit.* through the Spirit Or “in the spirit,” meaning in the spiritual or heavenly realm.
Be Good Managers of God’s Gifts
7 The time is near when all things will end. So keep your minds clear, and control yourselves. This will help you in your prayers. 8 Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. 9 Open your homes to each other and share your food without complaining. 10 God has shown you his grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gift he has given you in a way that will best serve each other. 11 If your gift is speaking, your words should be like words from God. If your gift is serving, you should serve with the strength that God gives. Then it is God who will be praised in everything through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen.
Suffering as a Follower of Christ
12 My friends, don’t be surprised at the painful things that you are now suffering, which are testing your faith. Don’t think that something strange is happening to you. 13 But you should be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings. You will be happy and full of joy when Christ shows his glory. 14 When people say bad things to you because you follow Christ, consider it a blessing. When that happens, it shows that God’s Spirit, the Spirit of glory, is with you. 15 You may suffer, but don’t let it be because you murder, steal, make trouble, or try to control other people’s lives. 16 But if you suffer because you are a “Christ-follower,” don’t be ashamed. You should praise God for that name. 17 It is time for judging to begin. That judging will begin with God’s family. If it begins with us, then what will happen to those who don’t accept the Good News of God?
18 “If it is hard for even a good person to be saved,
what will happen to the one who is against God and full of sin?” Proverbs 11:31 (Greek version)
19 So if God wants you to suffer, you should trust your lives to him. He is the one who made you, and you can trust him. So continue to do good.
*4:6 through the Spirit Or “in the spirit,” meaning in the spiritual or heavenly realm.