Posts Tagged ‘Suffering

15
Feb
18

Resisting The Devil

Peter said that our enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion. He’s looking for someone to devour. Christ-followers of Peter’s day were undergoing persecution and tests of their faith. This suffering was seen as a result of the devil’s prowling. Peter said to stand firm in the faith instead of abandoning it. He wrote:

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. – 1 Peter 5:9 (NIV)

Knowing that we are all in this together helps us to resist the devil and stand firm together. We have brothers and sisters around the world who are undergoing persecution for our faith and they’re not giving up. If anything, their faith is stronger. They don’t have the option of complacency. The enemy is on the prowl and things will only get worse for Christians before Christ returns. What will you do when the enemy comes prowling around trying to devour you? Will you walk away to avoid persecution or will you stand firm in the faith knowing that Jesus is coming soon?
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06
Feb
18

Continue To Do Good

In 1 Peter 4, the Apostle Peter talks about those who suffer persecution for following Jesus. Persecution is inevitable. God, Peter says, will have the final say when He judges the world. God is able to use our suffering for good. He grows our faith in Christ through participation in His sufferings. Instead of retaliating, we should do something else. Peter wrote:

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 (NIV)

We should continue to do good. If you suffer for your faith, don’t throw in the towel. If you suffer persecution for Jesus, don’t give up. Keep your eyes on Him and continue to do good. Let God have the final say as you continue to do good. Continue to love your neighbor and your enemy. Continue to serve the poor and needy. Continue to pray for those who persecute you and forgive them. This is how we continue to do good and look more like our Leader, Jesus.
02
Feb
18

Bearing The Name Of Jesus

No one wants to suffer, right? No one wants to endure hardship and persecution. Sometimes we bring suffering on ourselves because of our sinful actions. Sometimes we suffer persecution because of our faith. Peter says that if we suffer because of our faith, we should praise God. He wrote:

If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. – 1 Peter 4:15-16 (NIV)

The reason we praise God because we bear the name of Jesus is because it is the only name by which we are saved. When we stand before Him in judgment, we who have been clothed with Christ in baptism will be judged “Not guilty.” Those who are not bearing the name of Jesus will be condemned. When we come to Christ, we are given a new name – His name. It is a beautiful, wonderful and powerful name. It is the name above every other name. By God’s grace through faith in Jesus, it is our name now.
31
Jan
18

Suffering For Jesus

Jesus said in John 15 that the world would hate His followers because it hated Him first. Peter’s audience was being persecuted and they were experiencing that hate firsthand. Peter said this should not have come as a surprise to them. He wrote:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. – 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)

If we suffer for our faith, our sufferings are a participation in the sufferings of Jesus. In Acts 5, Peter and his fellow apostles were flogged for preaching in the name of Jesus. It says that they left rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the Name of Jesus. Instead of getting angry over persecution, let us rejoice knowing that God sees it and He will have the final say. May we be counted worthy to suffer for Christ.
18
Jan
18

Done With Sin

When you decide to live for Jesus, it is indeed a huge choice with potentially painful consequences. Jesus promised that the world would hate His followers because it hated Him first. Living for Jesus can result in painful persecution. Peter talks about this in chapter 4. He writes:

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. – 1 Peter 4:1-2 (NIV)

When you start living for Jesus and are willing to suffer for Him, it means that you’re saying, “I’m done with sin.” In other words, it means that you’re going to go against the flow and live differently. You’re willing to suffer whatever consequences may come as a result of your choice. Instead of living for selfish, human desires, you’re going to live for God. The world will not persecute its own, but it will persecute followers of Jesus. Are you willing to say, “Yes” to Jesus and be done with sin?
12
Jan
18

God’s Will To Suffer?

This is going to sound strange, but have you ever thought that suffering could be part of God’s will for your life? Peter did. In fact, he points to Jesus as an example. He writes:

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. – 1 Peter 3:17-18 (NIV)

God would rather you suffer persecution because you’re doing the right things instead of doing the wrong things. Jesus suffered through the cross because He did the right things. He lived a holy and righteous life and His own people killed Him for it. They put Him to death on a cross, but God had the final say. God raised Him back to life on the 3rd day just as He said He would. It was God’s will for this to happen because all of humanity could be saved through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Do the right things, even if it brings persecution knowing that God’s will is best.
10
Jan
18

Blessed In Spite Of Suffering

We expect to be punished when we do the wrong things. What happens when we are picked on or punished for doing what is right? We feel persecuted and not blessed. Yet Peter says that we are blessed when we suffer for doing the right things. He says:

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” – 1 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)

Even if we are threatened by punishment for doing the right things, we should do them anyway. We should always be eager to do good and to do what is right. Regardless of the consequences of doing what is right, we should live lives of character and integrity. God will have the final say and He is the One who will bless us when we do what is right. While we may suffer for a little while on earth, we will be eternally blessed in Heaven.



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