Bible Studies for Life
1 Peter 4:1-2, 12-19
Emory Berry, Jr., pastor, Greenforest Community Baptist Church, Decatur
I know, I know, I know! No one wants to admit, acknowledge, or announce it but tough times are a part of life. In fact, many believers have come to understand that trials, troubles, tribulations, and turbulence are a constant part of the Christian journey.
However, the blessing for us as Christians is that God uses these unpleasant experiences for our benefit and for His glory. Inasmuch, God uses these events and seasons to develop us, drive us forward, and to help us discern His perfect will for our lives.
Now wouldn’t it be nice if we could escape or even evade these trying times all together? Unfortunately, this is not possible because trials are again a part of life. For example, when we look around our nation there are so many things occurring that could easily cause us to be discouraged, disappointed, distraught, dissatisfied, and even divided.
For example, the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths can cause our hearts to be saddened. The unfortunate cases of police brutality are enough to cause our spirits angst. The worldwide protests are enough to cause our minds to be overwhelmed. And finally, the messy messages that surround our upcoming political elections are enough to cause us all to cringe.
However, the beauty and blessing of God is that God specializes in turning tough times into triumphant times. In our scripture, we find that Peter reminds us that trials and suffering are part of the Christian journey because Christ had to suffer. To this end, if there was anyone who was qualified to share insight with us on the reality of suffering, it is Peter because he watched Jesus suffer and he suffered himself.
Perhaps you recall some of the interesting facts about Peter’s life. God used Peter to teach us that following Christ is a “costly commitment” based on Matthew 4:18-22 whereby Peter walks away from his career, profession, and living as a fisherman to follow Christ. Also, Peter’s life teaches us the importance of having “water-walking faith” as seen in Matthew 14:22-23 whereby Peter steps out of the boat to walk towards Jesus. Furthermore, Peter teaches us to be “frank about our failures” in Luke 22:54-62 when he denies Jesus three times. The point is simply that Peter suffered, sacrificed, and endured many things for the cause of Christ.
In conclusion, I Peter 4 encourages us to remember that Jesus physically suffered and went through times for you and I (v.1). Hence, we must be willing to embrace the same mindset of Christ and be willing to suffer Him (v.1).
In addition, Peter shares that it is in our suffering that we learn how to discipline ourselves and desire God’s will (v.2). Also, Peter reminds us to see our seasons of suffering as a means for God to be glorified (v.13). Finally, Peter illuminates that we are more apt to persevere through our suffering when we acknowledge that our pain will one day be substituted for joy and that our agony will make us one with Christ. Hence, are you willing to suffer for Christ so that God’s Kingdom will be advanced on Earth as it is in Heaven?