1 Peter 4:15-19

Read 1 Peter 4:15-19
Whenever we approach Scripture, we face the temptation to allow ourselves to shape the text to what we think to be true. Or, we find ourselves ignoring or moving past the ‘harder’ passages in the Bible. It probably would be much easier to only read and think about the verses that we know and love. Nevertheless, the entirety of God’s Word is relevant to us today because of the active and living God who’s behind it all. This gives us every reason to allow the text to shape us, and it will. When we submit ourselves to the Lord and his Word, it will change us, change our perspectives, and change the way we live our lives.
 
So, suffering. It’s not fun to read about this in Scripture. No one really wants to suffer, but we all do. We all have or will encounter suffering in our lives. Sometimes, suffering makes sense to us. If a student cheats on a test and gets caught, they will suffer the consequences of that decision. Peter knows this, and this is why he encourages us to stay away from the suffering that we bring upon ourselves.
 
If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (1 Peter 4:15-16)
 
That last verse is where we struggle. We wrestle with the fact that suffering may happen in our lives when we don’t do anything to ‘deserve’ it. The fact that the Bible says this means God knows suffering will happen in our lives, and we don’t like that. For some, we start becoming bitter towards God, and we find ourselves blaming him for allowing these things to happen. ‘If God truly was a loving God…’ or ‘If I was God, I wouldn’t have let…’ May we quickly run from these thoughts. It is such a dangerous game to try to play God, as if we know better than he does.
 
As with most things in life, suffering gives us an opportunity to either look inward or look outward, and the encouragement today is to look upward. In the midst of our suffering, remember that someone suffered for you, and his name is Jesus.
 
None of us would’ve chosen to have our one and only son beaten, mocked, and sacrificed, yet God did. Jesus literally experienced the worst suffering possible to mankind, and he did it so we could be born again. So that life here on earth wouldn’t be the final story. So that we could someday be reunited with God again for all eternity.
 
Let the work of Jesus encourage your soul. God has never promised us that this life will be easy. He has never promised that we won’t experience difficult times. But, he has promised that he will be faithful, and he is. Let’s rest and find comfort in the faithfulness of God.
 
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:19)
 
Questions for reflection:

  • Spend some time today and praise God (through prayer – verbal or written) for all that he has done on your behalf.
  • For the times where you have gone through a season of suffering / and maybe that time is recent or current – who has come alongside you and helped you through?
  • Think about some people in your life who may be going through a difficult time. Spend some time praying for them, and consider doing something tangible that will encourage them too.
Garrett Crown | Student Ministries Associate 

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