Sharing in Suffering
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 4:12–13
Suffering is an unavoidable aspect of the Christian experience. There isn’t a scale of how much suffering a believer must go through, but the principle is that the one who genuinely believes must suffer. To take it a step further, the Apostle Peter makes it clear that we should expect suffering and not be alarmed when it comes.
In 1 Peter 4:15, Peter warns against a believer who suffers because of their personal choice to sin. Whether the choice was made from a place of ignorance or it was an intentional choice, the truth is that this type of suffering isn’t included in the ‘fiery trial’ that he is describing in verse 12. Suffering on behalf of Christ is the only suffering that is in Peter’s view.
We should also be clear to point out that Peter is not glorifying humiliation or irresponsibility. To live without common, necessary resources during your short stay on this earth doesn’t make a believer more holy, in the same way that having material abundance doesn’t make you less holy. Peter simply states that each believer has their own personal degree of suffering that they are to be faithful in.
Although it is natural for us to compare our degree of suffering with someone else’s, we must be mindful that suffering is not comparative. We are to constantly remind ourselves that when we “partake in Christ’s sufferings” we are not to look around at others, but we are to look upward to our motivation—which is Christ Himself. Let’s rejoice and be glad at the privilege we get to share in like manner with what Christ had to endure.
Published on Jan 26 @ 3:09 AM EDT
Author: L.B. Cowman
“Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
When we have doubts or are facing difficulties, when others suggest courses of action that are conflicting, when caution dictates one approach but faith another, we should be still. We should quiet each intruding person, calm ourselves in the sacred stillness of God’s presence, study His Word for guidance, and with true devotion focus our attention on Him.
We should lift our nature into the pure light radiating from His face, having an eagerness to know only what God our Lord will determine for us. Soon God will reveal, by His secret counsel, a distinct and unmistakable sense of His direction. It is unwise for a new believer to depend on this approach alone. He should wait for circumstances to also confirm what God is revealing. Yet Christians who have had many experiences in their walk with Him know the great value of the secret counsel of the Lord as a means of discerning His will.
Are you uncertain about which direction you should go? Take your question to God and receive guidance from either the light of His smile or the cloud of His refusal. You must get alone with Him, where the lights and the darkness of this world cannot interfere and where the opinions of others cannot reach you. You must also have the courage to wait in silent expectation, even when everyone around you is insisting on an immediate decision or action. If you will do these things, the will of God will become clear to you. And you will have a deeper concept of who He is, having more insight into His nature and His heart of love. All this will be your unsurpassed gift. It will be a heavenly experience, a precious eternal privilege, and the rich reward for the long hours of waiting. DAVID
Keep still! When trouble is brewing, keep still! When slander is getting on its legs, keep still! When your feelings are hurt, keep still till you recover from your excitement at any rate! Things look different through an unagitated eye. In a commotion once I wrote a letter and sent it and wished I had not. In my later years I had another commotion and wrote another long letter; my life had rubbed a little sense into me, and I kept that letter in my pocket until I could look it over without agitation, and without tears, and I was glad I did—less and less it seemed necessary to send it. I was not sure it would do any harm, but in my doubtfulness, I learned reticence, and eventually it was destroyed. Time works wonders!
Wait till you can speak calmly and then perhaps you will not need to speak. Silence is the most powerful thing conceivable, sometimes. It is strength in its grandeur; it is like a regiment ordered to stand still in the mad fury of battle. To plunge in were twice as easy. Nothing is lost by learning to keep still. HANNAH WHITALL SMITH
I do not believe we have even begun to understand the wonderful power there is in being still. We are in such a hurry, always doing, that we are in danger of not allowing God the opportunity to work. You may be sure that God will never say to us, “Stand still,” “Sit still,” or “Be still,” unless He is going to do something. This is our problem regarding the Christian life: we want to do something to be Christians, instead of allowing Him to work in us. Think of how still you stand when your picture is being taken, as the photographer captures your likeness on film. God has one eternal purpose for us: that we should be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29 KJV). But in order for that to happen, we must stand still. We hear so much today about being active, but maybe we need to learn what it means to be quiet. Perhaps we simply need to learn to be still and watch God work out the details that challenged us so greatly and caused us so much distress. You will find that He works wonders if we can just still our hearts and sit before Him until He speaks.
Oh Lord, You know my heart better than I know it myself. You know my struggles and You hold each hope and fear in Your caring hands. Teach me, LORD, to be still and to know that You are God. I trust in You alone. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
An excerpt from the book: "Streams in the Desert: Morning and Evening"
Published on Jan 31 @ 12:46 AM EDT