1 Peter 4 Lesson

Suffering

SUFFERING IS PART OF BEING A CHRISTIAN

For followers of Jesus, it is not a question of if they are going to suffer, it is a question of when.

Peter and Paul wrote about this in the following two scriptures:

  1. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” – 1 Peter 4:12,
  2. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12.

Suffering comes in different forms.   As Christians, we may experience physical suffering, persecution, isolation, or any number of things.  

WHY GOD ALLOWS SUFFERING

God allows us to for three reasons:

  1. To teach us,
  2. To disciplineus,
  3. To shape us(into the people that He created us to be).

Consider the following three scriptures about suffering:

  1. "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17,  
  2. “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” – Psalm 119:71
  3. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5.

KEEPING OUR SUFFERING IN PERSPECTIVE

As we live our lives, we must continue to meditate on God’s word to help us keep our suffering in its proper perspective. The following two scriptures will help us do just that!

  1. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18,
  2. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9.

Whatever suffering we endure on earth, it will be nothing compared to the glory that awaits the faithful followers of Jesus!!

And no matter how bad our suffering on earth may be, it is only temporary. It will have a beginning and an end.

Heaven, however, is forever!!  In the book of Revelation, we can read, and marvel at how glorious Heaven is going to be!

  • “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’” – Revelation 21:1-4.

Not only will Heaven be glorious, but it will also contain beauty and wonder on a scale that we have never seen. The Apostle Paul articulated this for us in his first letter to the Corinthians:

Reading, and meditating on scriptures like these will help us to keep our suffering on earth in its proper perspective.

WE ARE NOT IN IT ALONE

God does not want us to suffer alone. From a strictly human standpoint, we may feel lonely and isolated at times. This can be especially difficult when we are suffering. We must remind ourselves that we are not alone in our suffering.

We have God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to help us. On more than one occasion, the Bible tells us that God is always with us:

  • “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will also help you, I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10 ,
  • “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9,
  • “Be strong and courageous,  do not be afraid or in dread of them, for the Lord your God is the One who is going with you. He will not desert you or abandon you.” - Deuteronomy 31:6.

Jesus said:

  • “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” - Mathew 18:20.

Additionally, when we are baptized, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is also referred to as “The Helper.”

  • Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” - Acts 2:38,
  • “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” – John 14:26.

CONCLUSION

Suffering is part of being a Christian. God allows us to suffer for three reasons:

  1. To teach us,
  2. To discipline us,
  3. To shape us(into the people that He created us to be).

To keep our suffering in its proper perspective, we need to study the Bible regularly. Our suffering is only temporary. It will come to an end, and no matter how difficult it may be to endure our suffering, it will be nothing compared to the joy that awaits us in Heaven.

And finally, we are not in it alone! We have God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to help see us through any adversity that comes our way!

We will end today’s lesson by revisiting the following scripture:

  • “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will also help you, I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10.

Comments

Dan

I have to remember what Peter said about "test." It's all a test, whether suffering ("tested by fire") or prosperity.

Reply
Mustang

Looking at ourselves to identify the special gifts that God has given us is the first step to being able to put those gifts into service to glorify God.

Reply
Michael
Mustang

Amen Mustang!

Reply