Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Suffering for Our Faith for Jesus

1 Peter 4:12-13

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

img_0063-2Of course Peter was writing to a persecuted church – a church that was being arrested for their expression of faith – beaten – at times thrown to the lions – crucified in arenas for sport – forced to battle gladiators to the death. Peter was trying to assure them that their suffering would be for just a little while. Here is more of his writing.

1 Peter 4:1-13 – 1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do — living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. 7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.  12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Have you ever suffered for your faith? Do we live in such a way that others would even see our faith or know that we love Jesus? That is a deep question my friends. If we say we are not suffering for our faith – the answer may be that we are not living our faith. Suffering for our faith doesn’t seem to be optional for the person living their faith.

Suffering for one’s faith is an honor – but it hurts none-the-less. Peter writes that the end of all things is near. That rings true today too – who knows what near means? Jesus could return for His church any day – or our life could end at any time. The truth is – if we suffered all our life – but placed our trust in Jesus – we will have an eternity of peace and blessing in God’s presence. Remember – eternity is a whole lot longer than our lives. We would also have a joy – a peace that passes all understanding. Even if we suffered like Christ suffered – even if we faced persecution for our faith – if our faith is in Jesus – we will be blessed in the end. We need to be reminded of this I think. We need to be assured that in the by-and-by we will have victory in Jesus!

Jesus is quoted as preaching these words – Matthew 5:10 – Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Sisters and brothers – we will suffer because of our faith – if we are living our faith. Jesus told us many times – as did the Apostles’ in their writings – that we would suffer if we lived our faith.  Jesus said – John 15:18 – If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  Peter wrote that we were to consider ourselves aliens – strangers – in this world – 1 Peter 2:11 – Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

Sisters and brothers – do not allow sinful men and women to rob you of your peace – your joy – in Christ. Happiness is circumstantially driven – we may not always be happy – but joy is spiritually derived and we are the only ones who can allow that to slip away! Even if we suffer for a short while – even if for our whole life – we have an eternity promised to us in the presence of God.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

P.S. – Join us on Tuesdays as we study the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.

February 7, 2020 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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