1 Peter 4:19
“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
Too often we hear messages of blessings being preached. This constant teaching has led Christians to seek after worldly wealth and blessing rather than seeking true riches in Christ Jesus. Scriptures on suffering are often ignored, brushed past, or never taught in the church. Nor are believers themselves reading the word and studying these scriptures. Because of this, many are left confused by the question of suffering as a Christian. We often do not understand why we need to go through suffering.
I think it is vital for us to examine these verses and see what it teaches us about living as children of God. 1 Peter 4:19 declares that we can suffer according to God’s will. If you are going through suffering, take a moment to determine the cause of your pain. Suffering and punishment could be a consequence of sin, or it could be because of your godliness and being a child of God.
If you are a child of God and you continue in your sin, then you will suffer as a consequence of your sin. Hebrews 12:11 says “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” This discipline is meant to take you from a place of sin to a place of fruitfulness in righteousness. This discipline is part of the sanctification process of a believer.
Now, how about the suffering of the righteous according to God’s will. It is suffering endured because of your righteousness and your good deeds. It is suffering tolerated because you stand up for the truth and are not willing to follow the dishonesty and evil ways of the world. The Apostle Paul says in Acts 14:22 “strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
According to scripture, this persecution is guaranteed. 2 Timothy 3:12 says “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
You see, it is God’s will that, “His children”, also follow the pattern of Christ and share in His suffering in whatever degree. Philippians 3:10 says “that I may know him and share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
What this shows us is that God “wills” for suffering in our life because it means we become more like Christ through the process and sharing in the death of Christ to enter into the Kingdom of God. This is part of enduring, part of the race that needs to be run. It is the battle we face, and all the while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and our faith in his provision. Fully committing ourselves to be lead by His Holy Spirit.
Overcoming through suffering and trials leads to eternal life.
James 1:2-4 says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” And again in James 1:12 saying “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
In conclusion, do not suffer for the wrong reason 1 Peter 4:15 says “But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.”
Instead, may you suffering be as a Christian.
1 Peter 4:16 says “Yet, if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” Friends, glorify God in all situations and rejoice for He who is with us, is greater than he who is in the world. The life we now have in Christ is far more precious and valuable than we can ever imagine.