Summary: Fourth of a five part series from 1 Peter that addresses how to find hope in our lives.
Life is unfair:
• Company goes bankrupt and you lose your job
• Invest your money with the Baptist Foundation and you lose much of your life’s savings.
• A hurricane or an earthquake hits and you lose all your possessions
• A loved one dies or gets seriously ill
Read 1 Peter 3:14-17
"Most people, when you ask, ’How are you doing?’ -- they’ll say, ’I’m doing ok, under the circumstances.’ Under the circumstances? What are you doing under the circumstances? Who put you there? Why don’t you get on top of the circumstances? Circumstances are like a mattress on your bed. You get on top of them and you’ll rest easy. You get underneath them and you’re going to suffocate."
I can’t always control my circumstances but I can control how I respond to them. That’s such a cliché, but it is absolutely true. The only way I can have hope when life is unfair is to respond properly to those circumstances.
7 Responses that bring me hope when life is unfair:
1. Rejoice in my circumstances
…But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. (v.14)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 (NIV)
• I’m blessed when life is unfair because God can use those circumstances to help me mature in my faith
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…
Matthew 5:10-12 (NIV)
• I’m blessed when life is unfair because I am earning a reward in heaven
Pray and thank God for my unfair circumstances.
2. Refrain from fear
…And do not fear their intimidation… (v.14 – NASB)
Two explorers were on a jungle safari when suddenly a ferocious lion jumped in front of them. "Keep calm" the first explorer whispered. "Remember what we read in that book on wild animals? If you stand perfectly still and look the lion in the eye, he will turn and run." "Sure," replied his companion. "You’ve read the book, and I’ve read the book. But has the lion read the book?"
Illustration: Running from bear – When we get into an unfair situation, our first reaction is to try to run from the situation.
God never promised to remove us from every unfair situation. In fact, the Bible promises us that as long as we live in a world full of sin, we should expect to go through unfair circumstances. But the good news is that God does promise to go through every one of those unfair situations with us:
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end – Because I am your God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:1-3 (Message)
Pray and thank God that he is with me in my circumstances so I don’t have to fear.
3. Refuse to worry
…and do not be troubled… (v. 14 – NASB)
We have a lot of jigsaw Christians today. Every time they’re faced with a problem they go to pieces."
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
John 14:1 (NIV)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
"If you pray you don’t need to worry, and if you don’t pray it does no good to worry."
- Zig Ziglar
Pray and turn my circumstances over to God so I don’t have to worry.
4. Recognize Christ as Lord over my circumstances
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord… (v. 15)
If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."