First, let us read 1 Peter 4:12-19 together.
We may have been told that when we accepted Christ, that there would only be sunshine and roses. We may have even believed it, only to find our problems remained, and suffering did not disappear.
But we’ve changed.
We are different now, we live the “with-God” life. It is true, suffering results from the fall and it’s a consequence of sin against God. We also suffer because of our own sinful and foolish choices and those of others.
You may even have had to suffer because the goodness they see in you threatens them. They don’t understand it, but yet it makes them feel guilty and conscious of their own ways.
This is the Holy Spirit revealing their need for a Savior.
Honestly, they may not accept that truth and take it out on you. They are so full of themselves that they want to knock that goodness right out of you and take you so far that they’ll push you to the edge waiting for you to “lose it”.
Calm down and breathe. You’re not suffering alone. Remember, you’re not suffering from doing something wrong, but for doing something right. Christians are not immune to suffering.
1 Peter 4:16-19 NIV
God’s people suffer?
Suffering, even as a Christian, should not be a surprise. Evil and sinful men targeted Jesus and remember you follow in His footsteps. Suffering for Christ is a blessing, not a punishment. If and when you suffer for being a Christian, then trust God and continue to live the “with God” life.
God is Sovereign, even in our suffering, and in His perfect timing He will lead you out of the suffering, comfort you and bring relief. Trust me, you will become stronger and more faithful as you journey on this road of suffering together with the Lord.
The With-God Relationship Makes a Difference
Our relationship with Christ may include testing. But this testing is good for us. He answers our prayer, comes alongside us, and makes us as good as gold. The “with-God” life makes a difference.
… I will refine them, like silver, and test them like gold. They will call on My name and I will answer them. I will say, “They are My people” and they will say, “The Lord is our God.”Zech 13:9 NIV
I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to meet the Lord face-to-face without being tested and tried. You see, I don’t want to be weighed and found wanting. I want to know that I’m wanting so I can come to Him and have those wanting places filled.
We suffer. and we suffer physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. But we never suffer alone. When we accept this reality, then we can refocus ourselves on the living God, the God of all comfort. Try to remember your past with Him, rejoice in His presence today and look on the eternal future you have in Him. Amen!
Suffering for your faith?
Some Christians suffer persecution and Christians of the past have been killed, bruised, and imprisoned for their faith. There are Christians even today needing our prayer as they suffer in silence in a prison cell. I’m not talking about that kind of suffering.
But you will suffer for your faith. Only your suffering will be different. I maybe domestic or not. Remember, you are not like the others, you stand out because you belong to the Lord.
Listen to my heart, God takes no pleasure in your suffering. But is some circumstances, we may suffer and suffer for doing what is right. The boss may ask you to lie for him, your husband may want you to lie for him as well, or your children my ask you to “cover” for them. They’re not going to be happy with you if you keep to your ethics. God is with you and you’re doing going to do what does not please Him. Their anger, yellling, and shunning you may be hurtful and break your heart.
But you’ve done what is right. Doing what is right doesn’t make everyone happy.
Praise God for the testing of your faith. This testing is not to allow God to measure the faithfulness in your heart, but for you to know the truth in your own soul. We can’t lie to ourselves, imagine everything is okay, and not find God correcting, rebuking, instructing, and encouraging us in the faith. We have a blind spot and God doesn’t.
Do you love God enough to go His way while everyone else goes the opposite direction? Are you yielded enough to say, “Though none go with me, still I will follow”?
Will you share in the suffering of Christ?
It’s difficult to be a Christian. It brings its own measure of loneliness, unpopularity, problems, and sacrifices. People outside the faith don’t understand us. In a post-Christian society, they may misunderstand and, sadly, some “so-called” Christians in the past have hurt them. There’s no excuse for them and God will judge those in His household as well.
Where is God in all this? Believe it or not, He is right there with you. The Shekinah presence—the glory and Spirit of God rests on you. Entrust yourself to Him.
Christians suffer for Christ and suffer in a manner that honors Him. Our lives and conduct are on display, and none of us wants to be responsible with marring His reputation.
Our attitude, in suffering, should give pause to someone looking from the outside in. Do they see that you’re different and that your relationship with Christ is real, personal and intimate. You’re not a Christian in name only!
To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.Prov 21:3 NIV.
Mic 6:8 NIV
Now that we’ve given it much thought, let those who profess to be Christian live a true to the Lord and faithful to Him. May those around us see that we live the “with-God” life and God is present in days of happiness and days of pain. The Lord is working in you – a supernatural work of faith.
Blessed, happy, and fortunate are you, Oh Christian, who suffer abuse because you carry the name of of the Lord. Regardless of your outward condition, you are healthy in your soul, secure in mind and peaceful in heart. The Spirit of glory—The Spirit of God rests on you.
You are not suffering so much for Christ, but with Christ.
He feels our sorrow, sees our heartache, and knows our pain. When He returns in all His radiant glory, then we will rejoice in victory together. We who share in His suffering also share in His triumph.
It may sound a little irreverent, but I hope to “high-five” with Christ when we rejoice together in triumph!
Call to Action
Even in your suffering, trust the Lord. The “with-God” life, in and of itself, is a blessing because the Lord your God is with you!
The Lord upholds you with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10)!
The Lord is near you. He’s as close as the breath you breathe and as near as the beating of your heart.
He who created the heavens and the earth will create in your soul a steady faith. The yielded heart, resting in the hand of Father God, will find comfort and assurance in Him. He quiets your soul and brings peace, perfect peace in the storm.
No matter what translations you turn to, Scripture reveals just how faithful He is when we trust Him. Below I’ve introduced three separate translations of Phil 4:5b-7. Look carefully how much He cares for you when you bring everything, absolutely everything to Him. Imagine, even in your suffering the Lord brings you peace, His peace.
Such peace guards our minds and hearts in Christ Jesus. When you entrust yourself to Him then you will never regret it. Trust me, I know and I know personally just how faithful He is in our suffering.
The Lord is near!
Phil 4:5b-7 KJV
Phil 4:5b-7 NRSV
Phil 4:5b-7 NET
Now, my dear sister-disciples, may the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and give you peace,