For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:3-5 ESV)
It is remarkable to read this and remember that it was written nearly 2000 years ago. So much for the advancement of the human race. Even back in Peter’s day we see the same kinds of activities driving much of what is “cool” in our culture. It is the road to immediate gratification rather than long term fulfillment. In the end it leaves us shallow and empty. Believers in Christ have a new perspective on life. We are given hope beyond the grave and beyond the emptiness of our hearts. The Holy Spirit gives us a taste of the redeemed relationship we will enjoy with our maker. When we think on that, it helps us to think with the end in mind. As we meditate upon this gospel reality, it puts our love foremost on our savior and thus loosens our grip on the things that we once grabbed hold of for pleasure.
As we thus say no to the ways of the world – the sensual living, drunkenness, parties – we will be abused for it. Be prepared. It is helpful to think why it is this abuse comes. It comes for a couple of reasons. One, those engaged in this kind of living don’t want to do it alone. Two, your abstinence seems to be a finger of condemnation pointed toward them and that’s uncomfortable. Their anger exposes their fears; fears of being left empty by this kind of living.
Lord, give me grace to live a transformed life and understand more and more the emptiness of sin. Give me grace to stand out and thus act as salt and light among my peers.