3. What counsel did Peter give regarding our mental disposition?
3 Peter, who had shared many experiences with Jesus, believed that there was a very good reason to live for God’s will rather than for one’s own. He said: “Therefore since Christ suffered in the flesh, you too arm yourselves with the same mental disposition; because the person that has suffered in the flesh has desisted from sins, to the end that he may live the remainder of his time in the flesh, no more for the desires of men, but for God’s will.”—1 Peter 4:1, 2.
4. How did Jesus show his submission to his Father?
4 Why did Jesus suffer in the flesh? Because he supported his Father’s side in the issue of universal sovereignty, or rulership. He proved God to be true and Satan a liar. And he did that by letting his earthly life be controlled by God, even though it resulted in a martyr’s death.—2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.
5. What challenge does Christ’s example place before us?
5 Yet that death was an expression of God’s love through Christ. (1 John 4:10) Why so? Because as a result of it, benefits were made available to all mankind. (Romans 5:8; 6:23) But how many are willing to accept those benefits? How many are willing to imitate Christ and sacrifice their own desires in submission to God’s will?—Hebrews 13:15, 17.
Christ’s Mental Disposition
9 What can make it easier for us to submit to God’s will? According to Peter’s counsel, quoted in paragraph 3, we must arm ourselves with “the same mental disposition” that Jesus had.—1 Peter 4:1.
10 Peter here uses a Greek word that is found only twice in the Greek Scriptures—enʹnoi·a. Although some translators render it “mind,” it is not the usual Greek word for “mind,” which is nous. Therefore Peter, under inspiration, had some specific point in mind when he chose this less common noun. Greek scholar W. E. Vine says that enʹnoi·a “denotes purpose, intention, design.” J. H. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon defines it as “manner of thinking and feeling.”
11. What can we learn from Jesus’ example with regard to the way we use our lives?
11 Jesus’ self-sacrificing course of action clearly showed his purpose, or design. He was not leading a superficial life, just seeking pleasure and fun. He knew that he had not given up his former life in heaven in order to waste away a few years on earth in selfish pursuits. (See the contrast in Genesis 6:1, 2, 4, and Jude 6.) Thus he stated: “I have come down from heaven to do, not my will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38) Jesus was single-minded in his devotion to his Father’s cause, always putting it above his own will, even down to an ignominious death.—Luke 22:42.
12, 13. (a) How did Jesus manifest his mental disposition at Jacob’s fountain? (b) What did Jesus mean when he said, “I have food to eat of which you do not know”?
12 Even when tired and hungry, Jesus clearly showed his mental disposition toward his Father’s will. On one occasion, while his disciples went off for food, he rested at Jacob’s fountain. Instead of taking a well-earned nap until the disciples returned, he exerted himself to do God’s will. He took an unusual step for a Jew. He entered into conversation with a Samaritan woman. He opened her eyes to an understanding of the true God. As a result, “many of the Samaritans out of that city put faith in him on account of the word of the woman.”—John 4:6-26, 39-42.
13 When his disciples returned, they urged him to eat. How did he answer them? “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” They were baffled by his response until he added: “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” Clearly, Jesus took pleasure in submitting himself to his Father’s will. To him it was like food, and just as with eating good food, he enjoyed real satisfaction as a result. If we want to feel truly fulfilled in our lives, we can do no better than follow the example of Jesus Christ.—John 4:31-38.
Effects of Christ’s Mental Disposition
14. What do we need in order to have Christ’s mental disposition? Illustrate.
14 How should having Christ’s mental disposition affect us? If we learn to think like Christ, then we will have an inner force that will guide us to do what Jesus would do under any circumstances. (Luke 22:42; Ephesians 4:23, 24) This force will not result just from fear of punishment, such as discipline from the elders in the congregation, but rather from an overwhelming appreciation for Jehovah’s laws and principles. We can compare the situation to the person who obeys traffic laws only when there is a policeman in view—he subjects himself only to an exterior influence. But the person who values life, loves his neighbor, and sees the wisdom of having traffic laws will obey because he respects the law. He has a strong inner motivation.—Psalm 51:10.
15. (a) What proves that Jesus had an inner force actuating his mind? (Ephesians 4:23) (b) What examples of integrity give evidence of Christ’s mental disposition in modern-day Christians?
15 Jesus had that inner ‘force actuating his mind.’