Summary: Peter is going to challenge us to keep five important facts in mind as they pertain to rejoicing while suffering. We will answer the question today, “How can I rejoice while suffering?”
How can I rejoice while Suffering?
Dr. Adrian Rogers has said that “A faith not worth testing is a faith that is not worth trusting.”
It is a simple fact that no one is immune from pain and suffering in this life. Whether we are rich or poor, educated or unlearned, popular or almost unnoticed, there will be a certain amount of pain that we must deal with as we live out life for Christ while on this earth.
Not all Christians suffer to the same degree as others do, but all experience pain and hardship to some extent. It is also true that both Christians and unbelievers will experience hardship of some sort.
A wise man once observed that life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it. I believe that sentiment is very true. Warren Wiersbe has said that our attitude directly determines our altitude!
We should remember that the entire book of First Peter was written to Christians who were enduring great trials and hardships because of their faith; the whole book deals either directly or indirectly with this single theme. The Apostle has already mentioned suffering at the beginning of his letter:
I Peter 1:6-7 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in
heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more
precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto
praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
Up to this point, Peter has had many things to say about responding to suffering, especially the suffering which is brought about through the hostilities and resentments of others around us.
Last week Peter gave a list of ways believers in Christ are to live in this world of pain and suffering. Since we as Christians are presently living near the consummation of human history, he told us to be alert and watch as they pray. He also encouraged us to love each other. This love was also to be extended in the church through acts of service “without complaining”. Peter instructed us to continue in our spiritual growth through the proper exercise and regulation of their spiritual gifts. Obeying all of these instructions would help us keep our trials and pain in a proper, heavenly perspective.
In light of that information, Peter is going to challenge us to keep five important facts in mind as they pertain to rejoicing while suffering. We will answer the question today, “How can I rejoice while suffering?”
Read Scriptures: 1 Peter 4:12-19
I. I can rejoice while suffering because, my suffering doesn’t catch God by surprise.
Vs. 12 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.”
So often as followers of Christ we wonder “why would God allow me to suffer if I am His child.” Being a genuine follower of Christ in a corrupt and fallen world is difficult.
Those who are lost, and even sometimes in the Church, often are opposed to those who take a firm stand for Christ.
How many of your family members will not invite you to certain family gatherings because you take a stand for Christ against sin. How many times have we been chastised by fellow believers because we take a biblical stand against sin?
I read countless stories of people who have lost jobs because they stood up against sin in the work place and they just could not continue to work in that environment. As followers of Christ when we truly go out into the world and live out our Christianity by our actions and our speech we are avoided, ridiculed, mocked, ignored, neglected, overlooked, cursed, and the list could go on and on.
Quite frankly this verse teaches us “do not be surprised” when these things happen, and listen we are not to be surprised because God is not surprised, He knows what is going on down here, he promised us we would face persecution.
So what do we do? We choose to believe God and take Him at His Word. The promise that he will meet our needs, He is always with us, He has our best interest in mind if we truly follow Him. My suffering doesn’t catch Him by surprise, so I live a live of rejoicing because I believe the scripture “if God is for us, then who can be against us”.
II. I can rejoice while suffering because, in it, the Glory and blessing of Christ is revealed on me and through me.
Vs. 13-14 “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”