Summary: We live in a world full of suffering and pain. Life has its own mix of joy and hurts. We can get hurt physically by a disease. Sometimes circumstances at job can be painful for us.
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We live in a world full of suffering and pain. Life has its own mix of joy and hurts. We can get hurt physically by a disease. Sometimes circumstances at job can be painful for us. Then there are hurts that come from people; sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. Therefore, today we will be looking at how to handle hurts and suffering as a believer.
Open your Bible to 1 Peter 3:13-17
I started this sermon at lat week titled: A Christian approach to suffering. Today, I would like to give a different title today – What to do when it hurts?
Remember, in this epistle, Apostle Peter has been giving some instructions to the hurting believers about living in a hostile world. The believers in Rome were undergoing great persecution About 20 Lakh believers were persecuted and killed; therefore, Peter gives them an approach to hurts and how to deal with it.
1 Peter 3:13-16 13Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Peter gives us a handful of ways as to how to handle our hurts and sufferings as a Christian. Well, today, I will give you five responses to human suffering and hurt.
1. EAGER FOR GOODNESS.
First of all, in the time of difficulty don’t try to ease it but do good to others. Refocus your attention away from the hurt. When it hurts, do good to others.
2. FLEXIBILITY IN SUFFERING.
When it hurts, be flexible.
In spite of doing good, we may go through pain; however, understand that it is for our good. 1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
Therefore, when you go through pain in spite of doing good, what do you do? You become flexible and commit commitment for Lordship of Christ. 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
It means that no matter what comes against you, no matter what attacks you, you affirm in your heart that Christ is Lord. The only one I really have to fear and dread is the Lord.
Christ is my Lord even in my difficulty. So I will submit to him. When it hurts, I will submit to the Lordship of Christ.
Illustration on Lordship:
Someone once wrote and asked this question, “What is the correct procedure when one is invited to the Parliament but has a previous engagement?” The reply, “An invitation to dine at the Parliament is a command, and it automatically cancels any other engagement.”
Lordship is a command, and even in my pain I come under the lordship of Christ. This is the Christian who is totally committed to the reality that Jesus Christ is Lord, and I will honor Him as Lord even in my sufferings. He is Lord over me.
3. DON’T BE AFRAID.
1 Peter 3:14 “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
When we go through a trial or hurt, there will be thoughts that will tend to put fear in us. When fear grips in we loose our ability to think rationally. The believers at Rome were fearful. The Romans who were after them. Peter says through the Holy Spirit, “Do not be afraid.” Are you going through hurt or pain, do not be afraid.
Now, Peter has taken this quotation from the OT. Isaiah 8:12-13 12“Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”
Background of Isaiah 8
Now, in that particular portion, Ahaz, king of Judah, faced a crisis because of an impending invasion by the Assyrian army. The kings of Israel and Syria wanted Ahaz to join them in an alliance against the Assyrians, but Ahaz refused. So, because he refused, Israel and Syria threatened to invade Judah.
Behind the scenes then, Ahaz made an alliance with Assyria. And the prophet Isaiah warned him against ungodly alliances, and urged him to trust God alone for deliverance. And he says to him: Isaiah 8:12-13 12“Do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.”