1 Peter 4
Today's chapter didn't have one particular verse that popped out at me. Instead, I found the entire chapter a strange mix of admonitions, encouragements, warnings, and instructions. The major theme seems to be that of suffering. In fact, Peter seems to suggest that our suffering on this earth (as Christians) is a reflection of our salvation. It is proof of the reality of Christ's death and resurrection. We don't have to live a life controlled by sin. We can say no. We can yes to the will of God. Yet we still struggle with the reality of sin in our lives. We may even suffer as a result of its constant onslaught. But that is the life in this flesh. We suffer because we are believers – from the effects of sin and as a result of persecution for our faith. The truth is, most of us in American suffer more from our battle with sin than being persecuted for our faith. But we suffer none-the-less. So Peter tells us…
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. - Vs 12
We are sharing in Christ's sufferings. We are going through the same thing He went through. So what are we supposed to do? Peter lays it out for us. He says we are to pray (Vs 7). He tells us to love one another (Vs 8), to show hospitality to one another (Vs 9), to use our spiritual gifts to serve one another (Vs 10), and to keep on rejoicing (Vs 13). And finally he tells us to see our suffering as part of the will of God and to trust the outcome, the salvation of their souls, to the faithfulness of God.
So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good. - Vs 19
So no matter how bad it may seem, we are to do good. No matter how difficult the circumstances may appear, we are to rejoice in them. We are to love one another, serve one another, and open our hearts and homes to one another. We are to communicate to one another the words of God and serve one another in the strength of God (Vs 11). So that God is glorified through our lives as we live them out on this earth.
Father, I admit that I am still somewhat surprised by the trials that I encounter on this earth. I guess I still kind of expect life to be a little bit easier on me because I am Yours. I don't want to have to struggle with sin. I don't want to have to suffer for my faith. Yet You tell me to expect it and to rejoice in it. Show me how to do that more effectively. I know I try to do it in my own strength and I fail. So help me do it in Your strength. So that I may speak Your words and serve in your power. And so that You can be glorified on this earth in my life. Amen