Posts Tagged ‘Suffering


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?

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.

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.

He Did Not Deserve It

In 1 Peter 2, Peter was talking about how slaves would sometimes be mistreated by their masters. Peter said that it was commendable by God when they would bear up under such suffering instead of retaliating. When talking about suffering, he writes about the example of Jesus. Jesus suffered unjustly and He did not retaliate.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22   “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth. – 1 Peter 2:21-22 (NIV)

Jesus did not deserve the punishment He suffered. He went to the cross and suffered excruciating pain and humiliation for the sake of us all. He could have called down fire from Heaven to do away with His executioners, yet He did not retaliate. When we suffer unjustly, it is to our credit to bear up under it and not retaliate or seek revenge. Jesus is our example and if He could suffer even though He did not deserve it, we can learn to as well.

Commendable Suffering

When I read about slaves and masters in the New Testament, I think that these passages relate to modern day employees and employers. In 1 Peter, he wrote about this class of citizens. Peter writes:

Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. – 1 Peter 2:18-20 (NIV)

It can be extremely difficult to work for someone who doesn’t treat you well, especially if you’re not doing anything wrong. You may want to lash out against them verbally or even physically. Don’t do it, God says. Instead, be an example of a godly employee and do your best knowing that God will have the final say.

The Lord’s Help In Suffering

James, when talking about perseverance and patience in the face of suffering, gives two examples from the Old Testament. He writes:

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. – James 5:10-11 (NIV)

It is important to realize that we are not alone when we suffer. The prophets suffered persecution from their own people, but God was with them and strengthened them. Job suffered at the hands of the devil. God was quiet at the time of his suffering, but He rewarded Job’s patient perseverance. Suffering is hard. We don’t like to suffer. But James says that God is compassionate and merciful. He will not abandon you, even if it doesn’t feel like He is near. Don’t give up on Him for He is closer than you think and working in ways that you cannot see. Also, He will reward your patient perseverance. It may not be immediate, but there is a reward coming for your perseverance. Hold on to His promises today.

Patiently Waiting

No one enjoys suffering. The Christians of the first century suffered persecution at the hands of those who opposed the church. James told them:

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. – James 5:7-8 (NIV)

Just as a farmer must wait for the rain to water his crops, so too must Christians wait for Christ’s return. The farmer knows that the rains will come and we must know that Jesus will come back. It requires patient endurance. No matter what others may say about us or do to us, we have to remember that Christ will return and those who stand firm and remain faithful to the end will be rewarded. Jesus said that we should not be surprised if the world hates us. After all, they hated Him first. My encouragement to you today is to resolve yourself to remain faithful to Jesus no matter what. The world is getting scarier and scarier for followers of Jesus. Will you patiently stand firm until He returns?

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