In The Word
Read: 1 Peter 3:13-4:6
13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
Keep Fervent in Your Love
4 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
You may very well suffer for good, and God may actually will it to happen. Scripture clearly tells us that it is better to suffer for doing what is right, rather than what is wrong. This goes against the belief of many of us in America that Christians should live a life of health, wealth, and safety, and if you are suffering, then it is because of sin.
Jesus never said that He would keep us from suffering, just that He would never leave us. Yes, Jesus is with you in your suffering. Jesus embraced suffering and did not avoid it. Hebrews 5:8 tells us that Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. So, what does that mean for you and me?
In the suffering, are you obeying the will of God or is the pain distracting you with complaints and grumbling? Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Have you grown tired and weary waiting for your miracle?
I want to challenge you to embrace the pain and ask Jesus what He wants you to learn in the suffering. Could it be trust, patience, love, kindness, faithfulness, or gentleness that He wants you to learn? Maybe what you are to learn is that it is not about you but about others? After all, Jesus suffered for you, not Himself. Suffering is the ultimate opportunity to show others the Hope that is within you. Will you obey Jesus in the suffering for the benefit of others?