Summary: A message about the attitudes we need to maintain in the midst of adversity
Staying True to God’s Command
Since we are outdoors this morning, I thought I’d share this little article with you about comments made to the staff of the Bridger Wilderness Area in the Bridger – Teton National Forest in Wyoming. (Some people want convenience in the pursuit of enjoying the outdoors.) From Perfect Illustrations (Preachng Today.com) pg. 125
They don’t get it when it comes to adversity. They aren’t learning from the pain.
Peter goes back to the theme of 2:12 – live exemplary lives. He wants his readers to keep doing good in the context of suffering.
God may not shield the believer from the external causes of suffering, but He is always standing with them to support them in doing good.
Psalm 118:6 “The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man can do to me.”
OK. I may just be a bit too picky, but I think the breakdown of these verse numbers gets in the way of the flow of what Peter is saying. The verse numbers aren’t inspired. They were broken down in 1551 by a French printer named Robert Etienne . As I studied this passage, here’s what I saw:
Vs. 13 and 14a complete the thought of vs. 9
When evil comes your way… vs. 9 says don’t respond with evil but give a blessing
Vs. 13 says when you know that God is working with you and on
your side, what harm can man do to you?
Vs. 14a says, “and even if you do suffer, you are blessed.”
Then I saw that vs. 14b and vs. 15 a go together!
Do not let them intimidate you. If you keep on making Jesus Lord of everything in your life, He’s
got your back! Keep your eyes focused on Him, not on the intimidation.
Then 15 b completes the thought of 14b – “don’t be intimidated, rather be filled with hope.”
OK. Peter wants us to keep the right perspective about any trouble that we face.
What is the perspective supposed to be?
I. The Mind – “I’m blessed.” I’m not intimidated. They may hurt you, but they cannot harm you. They may intimidate you, but they cannot tear you away from God.
Romans 8:35-39 there is nothing that can separate me from God’s love.
II Corinthians 4:7-7-9 we are afflicted, but not crushed, we are intimidated, but not broken… we want to make sure that it is the power of God that gets us though.
This is where Philippians 4 is so valuable. Vs. 6,7 remind us to NOT be anxiety filled, but turn
everything over to God in prayer and allow the peace of God to then rule over our
troubled hearts and minds.
Did you notice that vs. 17 opens up the possibility that the suffering and trouble we are facing is SUPPOSED TO BE THERE as part of God’s plan!!!! See where it says, “If God should will it so…” Maybe God wants the suffering to be there!
When Paul realized that his thorn in the flesh was there because God wanted it there, Paul was then able to say (II Corinthians 12:7-10) “I will boast about my weakness…I am well contented with
my suffering… my weaknesses and sufferings are there so that the power of Christ can dwell in me.” When I realize that God wills some trouble in my life, I can have a totally different attitude about that trouble. When I realize that some troubles are there by God’s design, and not some random act of bad luck or bad karma, I can then rely on God to get me through and accomplish His purpose in that trouble.
II. The Heart. What is supposed to be the attitude of the heart?
Two attitudes I need to keep in my heart:
A. I am blessed -- I am still the object of God’s blessing. Vs. 14
When we have troubles, our tendency is to feel unhappy, unfairly treated or that God has pulled His protection away and we are neglected and forgotten.
Remember, “the vinedresser is never closer to the vine than when he is pruning it.”
Matthew 5:10,11 says “Blessed are you when men persecute you and insult you and say all kinds of false things about you.” I am blessed. Keep that in your mind. Let it be settled in your heart.
B. Vs. 15 I am supposed to make sure that as far as I’m concerned, Jesus Christ is Lord. This is the attitude of my heart. He is Lord. He is in control. He is still ruling my life – even if outside rulers try to make me change my faith, I will not be moved. I will not be shaken. My heart is still ruled by Jesus Christ.