~ Today’s Scripture Art and mini Bible study on 1 Peter were designed to help you rejoice in suffering and write God’s Word on your heart. ~
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Peter told us to rejoice in suffering. Seriously?
Maybe if we knew in advance the purpose for our suffering. Maybe.
Did you see the movie The Passion of the Christ a few years back? Once was more than enough for me. But one thing I will give it – that movie sure did make me contemplate the suffering that Jesus went through. To this day I can’t get those scenes out of my mind.
But did Jesus rejoice in suffering?
John 17:1 (ESV): When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,
Jesus knew the reason behind His suffering and I’m sure that had to help Him get through it.
Would it help you be stronger through your suffering if you knew it had a purpose?
Do I have good news for you!
Lately I’ve been thinking about that because last week we talked about 1 Peter 1 and the resurrection of Jesus Christ – and how that brings us hope.
I’d much rather have an image in my head of hope rather than suffering. You too?
But, after last week I got on a roll and read through the book of 1 Peter. Guess what the main theme was?
Yep. Our least favorite subject.
Peter spoke of the positives and the negatives – and the purposes.
Wait. There are positives?
Believe it or not!
Some people ask why a loving God would allow suffering in the world. According to Peter, it’s actually a good thing!
Suffering is reason to rejoice, even!
So of course God would allow it if it is a good thing.
Peter’s letter is very encouraging to believers who are experiencing “various trials” (1 Peter 1:6). So I encourage you to go read the whole book. But I have made a handy list for us …
12 Things Peter Taught About Suffering
1. If it’s good enough for Christ, it’s good enough for us.
1 Peter 4:1 (NLT): So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.
2. It’s temporary.
1 Peter 5:10 (NLT): In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.
1 Peter 1:6 (NIV): In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
3. It may result in praise, glory and honor.
1 Peter 1:7 (ESV): so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
4. It’s commendable before God.
1 Peter 2:20-21 (NIV): 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. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
5. It brings blessing.
1 Peter 3:14 (ESV): But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
1 Peter 4:14 (ESV):If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
6. It’s an opportunity to show commitment.
1 Peter 4:19 (NIV): So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
7. It may be the will of God.
1 Peter 3:17 (ESV): For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
8. It may be instigated by the devil.
1 Peter 5:8 (ESV): Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
9. It’s experienced by all believers.
1 Peter 5:9 (NIV): 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.
10. It should not be a surprise.
1 Peter 4:12 (ESV): Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
11. It should be cause for rejoicing.
1 Peter 4:13 (ESV): But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
12. It’s an opportunity to glorify the name of Christ.
1 Peter 4:16 (NLT): But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!
If you were keeping score, then you know that 7 out of 12 were positive!
Of course seven.
So what do you think? I’m thinking maybe it’s time we had a paradigm shift in our negative thinking about suffering.
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