Summary: Christians are not exempted from sufferings. But, how could we react properly and different from the people in this world who are not believers?

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him — you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders reject-ed has become the cornerstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for” (1 Peter 2:4-8, NIV).

A frog fell inside a hole on the ground. Did it just remain inside and die? No. It kept on jumping. Every time it jumped, a portion of the soil on the side of the hole slid down. Because it jumped repeatedly, great amount of soil was piled at the bottom of the hole and it became thicker and thicker until it be-came a higher platform for the frog to jump out of the hole.

So this time, let’s learn some “Right Reactions To Suffering” better than a frog, as we deal with our text (1 Peter 2:4-8 NIV), particularly verse 5.

So, how should a believer react in the right way to his/her suffering?

Again, let’s remind ourselves that Peter addressed 1 Peter both to the Jewish and non-Jewish Christians, who were then scattered throughout Asia Minor and were suffering local persecutions. And later the persecutions even became intense and widespread.

Now, in our text, in the early portion, and as we discussed before, Peter pointed out that the suffering Christians then continued to come to Jesus – continued to commune with Him through His words. Why? Not only they “tasted” or experienced the goodness of the Lord, but God graciously opened their spiritual eyes to behold Jesus, as God the Father sees Him: Precious!

And because He is Precious, they tend to keep coming to Him, to keep coming to His Word, to behold more how Precious He is.

Now, in the next verse, we could find at least two things how we could react properly to our trials or sufferings.


In verse 5, we read: “…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Notice again the opening words, “…you also, like living stones…”

That was not just the opinion or idea of Peter, but God’s Spirit “carried along” Peter’s will to declare it, as if God Himself was declaring that Jesus is the living Stone, the persecuted Christians then were also “like living stones.”

Though they were considered an outcasts of society, looked down, persecuted by men, Peter was implying that they should not allow their persecutors to define who they really are. In the last part of verse 6, Peter quoted the Old Testament passage:

“…and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

As they believed or trusted Jesus, they should not be ashamed how men would regard or treat them. They ought to value more how God regarded them – like living stones, thus, they were also precious in God’s sight.

Notice the first part of verse 7, “Now to you who believe, this stone is precious…” Of course, this stone – referring to Jesus – is really precious for the believers. But, we could have also another meaning in that passage. If you have the King James Version, you’ll read that part in verse 7, “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious…” And you will note the words, “he is…” are in italicized – meaning, those words are absent in the original Greek manuscript. Thus, we could read it this way: “Unto you therefore which believe precious…”

In fact, it is rendered in the New American Standard Version: “This precious value, then, is for you who believe;…”

In the paraphrase translation of the Bible in Basic English, it reads: “And the value is for you who have faith;…”

Peter pointed out to the persecuted Christians that they were like living stones, precious also in the sight of God, like His Son, and they ought to value more how God regarded them than how their persecutors regarded them or what they think of them. Their sufferings or how demeaning the treatment they suffered from others did not lessen their value before God.

The tendency of people is to value what others would think of them, or how others would regard them. Of course, we find also those who would just do their own thing or do just anything without any regard of other people’s thought or feeling.

But, my point is that, human beings are inclined to define their worth based on the good things that are happening to them, or what others would think of them, or what others would tell me. And when they declare, “I am ashamed…” What they have in mind is what other people would think or would say to them, or how would they appear to others.

And because their standard of self-worth is based on the standard of their fellow human beings, or society, or even culture, they would also desire, think, plan and strive to conform to such standard to gain the sense of approval from others, from society, or from whatever.

But, do they consider what God would think of them? Do they believe what the One who created them perceived them to be? Do they feel any sense of shame on the kind of thoughts or actions that appear so clearly in the eyes of their Maker?

Christians should not allow the words or perception of others or the difficulties they suffered to define their worth. The need to believe what God thinks of them even in the midst of pain. For Him, they are precious.

How about us, saints, do we really consider how God regards us? Do we value and appreciate it that in His eyes, we are not just like ordinary stones – but like “living stones”? Do we believe that God considers us, as precious, just like Jesus, though we suffer much?

Then, let us not allow what people would think of us, or what society, what culture would dictate to define our worth or importance. Let’s believe what God thinks of us.

Let not the words of any man or treatment of anyone demean or discourage us. Seek not the approval of man. True believers, through Jesus Christ, have already gained the approval of the Holy God. To Him, we are precious. And that’s what really matters, in spite of our trials.

Perhaps, there were some policemen at the Legazpi City Station that would not welcome me as I shared God’s Word every Monday morning, during the flag raising ceremony program. Thankfully, now even the reinstated Chief of Police P/Supt Berdin showed his approval that I would speak about the Bible, even before he would speak and issue his police instructions to his men. I am not so concerned what the other uniformed personnel would think of me, but how the Chief of Police has treated me. He allowed me to speak.

Young ones and once young in the church, the One greater than all the chiefs or generals in the world had called you: precious! Let His Word defines who you are. When you are in difficulty, continue to immerse your mind in God’s Word to find out more what He thinks of you, how He regards you. Believe them more than the painful remarks from others, or than the painful effects of sufferings. Believe God’s Word, like the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 3:3, which says: “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (ESV).

What further reaction we could have to suffering?


Observe the last part of verse 5, “…being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Peter told the Christians in different places in Asia Minor, who were suffering persecution – being in-sulted, driven away, oppressed, arrested for their beliefs, or even to the point of being killed – that they were “being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…”!

Of course, their persecutors were not the ones “building” them. Their persecutors wanted to harass, to hurt, to intimidate – not only to prevent them from living in their faith, but to prevent them from living in their midst!

But, behind those evil purposes and actions being inflicted on God’s people in Peter’s time, Peter point-ed out that an Unseen Builder with righteous intention was doing something good in the life of the suffering believers. They were being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood.

They ought to gravitate to the Living Stone – Jesus Christ, the strong foundation – the precious cornerstone, as God – the Master Builder – drawing the believers, as “like living stones” to form the spiritual temple. Peter was also implying to them that they, like living stones” should not live apart from others and from Christ. A single stone – apart from the structure – has no or has lesser value.

Thus, Peter was encouraging the Christians, then, just to live on and do what God has directed them to do, as He – the builder – was shaping them to fit into the spiritual structure He is building, even through negative circumstances or whatever harmful treatments they suffered from others.

God is the Builder – not their persecutors, nor their situations. They needed to accept what He was doing in their lives. And live on it.

Christians today are enduring and facing various difficulties. In other areas, persecutions are also happening.

We could also suffer difficulties in our relationships, not only in our neighbors, but also in our own family. We could also suffer because of financial difficulties, sickness, or “love life.” We could also wrestle difficulties in our jobs, or seeking for a job, in our school, or even in our ministry. Some could also find it difficult to submit to authority. And we could even suffer, because we see others are suffering, suffering from want, suffering from pain, or enjoying wrong habits that would harm them later, even when know someone, especially close to us, believing doctrines contrary to the words of Jesus.

We need to realize that we are not at the mercy of the situation. God is the Master Builder – not only of the physical creation, but also of the events or experiences in our life. He will not waste any “nail of pain” He would inflict to build the spiritual structure.

So, we have to live on those difficulties that intended to prod us to draw closer to Jesus, the strong foundation; and to be attached more to His church – the body of fellow believers – that we become a part of what is being built.

How about us, saints, how do we react when we are suffering or enduring difficulty? When others would inflict severe pain against us whether emotionally, physically or whatever, are we tempted to retaliate?

When trials are so big, or rushing from every side, are we tempted to blame others, isolate ourselves, or even to end our life? When we are in pain, it is easy to give up our life, or just to give up our work in the ministry, to give up our fellowship in the church, to give up reading God’s Word, to give up our prayer time, to give up doing things for God.

But, young ones or once young in the church, if you are true believers, never forget that there is the Unseen Builder behind your painful situation. And this Builder knows the pain you could bear in the hammering He will pound on you. He knows what He doing. And He loves you so much that He wants you to fit in the glorious spiritual temple He is building.

So, let us live on the difficulties or suffering we may go going through. Let’s continue to do what we are able to do. If we are in pain, but we can still breathe, breathe. If we can still see, see. If we can still read or hear, read and hear God’s Word. If you can still pray, pray. If you can still do something for God, do it. But, do not complain, blame others, grumble, retaliate, retreat and surrender.

Before I finally close, may I relate to you what happened to Chief of Police Police Superintendent Berdin of the Legapi Police Station.

When one of his men was accused of torture and physical injuries, he was also included in the accusation because of command responsibility. So, during the investigation of the case, he was suspended as Chief of Police and placed under protective custody. But, now he is back in his post.

During his suspension, as he was relating the story during the program in the flag raising ceremony at the Legazpi Police Station, he did not grumble. He did not do anything foolish, that he would be sorry afterwards. But, he accepted the decision of his superiors. What he did was to fight back by legal means and he was praying that he should be vindicated and restored in the service. He did not succumb to the temptation to engage in illegal means in order to make up for the financial loss he suffered to support his family, because of his suspension.

Then, he encouraged his men that when they suffered the same fate, though they were not at fault, they should not do something stupid or anything that would just aggravate the case against them. He told them just to relax and emphasized that they may not know why God would allow such trial to happen to them, He has a purpose that only He knows.

Brothers and sisters, we ought to be grateful, though we may not know all the answers why we suffer, because through God’s Word, we understand that no matter what kind of pain or humiliation we endure, God will take care of us, for we believe that we are precious in His sight.

Thus, not only we can really relax, but we can live on – fighting or doing godly thing in spite of the pain, for we know that the Master Builder – is our Loving Father – who is using those trying situations in order for us to draw closer to the Precious Living Stone – Jesus Christ – and to become a part of His Body – the body of believers – as He builds us, as His “spiritual house.”