Suffering is not fun, hence the reason it is called suffering. Suffering is when you are undergoing pain or hardship. It’s surely not fun. But Peter tells us to “be very glad.” Throughout the Bible we read that we should rejoice in our suffering. When we are insulted because of the name of Jesus, we are considered blessed (v. 14).
When we suffer, Peter says we are “partners with Christ in His suffering.” As we press forward, we are reminded that we “should serve with the strength God supplies” (v. 11 NIV). We shouldn’t be surprised when we have fiery trials (v. 12). Jesus told us it was guaranteed (John 15:20).
Paul told Timothy that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12 NIV). Continue to live a godly life in Jesus. Rest in the confidence that comes from living in the Lord, and remember that blessed is he who is persecuted. One day, we “will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” Eternity we will have with Him.
“Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” – 1 Peter 4:13 [NLT]
A fellow classmate brought up an interesting point today. He said that it was interesting that when John the Baptist was asked if he was Elijah, he denied it, but then Jesus said that John the Baptist was in fact Elijah. From this, he said that he felt that John the Baptist did not understand the “bigness” of his mission.
I thought about it for awhile and it got me to consider how we serve. We always seem to want to do big things for God. When we look for something to do with the church, we want to be the next Peter or Paul or John. We want to be Elijah or David. We don’t imagine a small role, because if we serve, we want to serve big.
The problem is that it is not our will and it is not about us at all. When we serve, we are serving God. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the matter. Did Peter or James know how big their roles would be for the early church? Did Paul realise that we would be studying His writings so many years to come? Were these men looking to be the biggest, or were they serving their awesome God? Were they filling the needs or were they trying to venture to be the most well known?
When we serve, we serve out of love– love for our Father. We don’t know how many it will touch and what the impact will be in the end. We simply serve. God will use those who let Him. Let yourself be used. See what He does. You may not know how far your service reaches, and maybe it will be something small– but no matter how big or small the role, you are serving a loving Father. That is what matters. Open your hands– let Him fill them.
“As each one has received a special gift, empty it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do it as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4:10-11 [NASB]