The Story: Suffering in the name of Jesus comes because of the life in the Spirit believers lead. In the Spirit they are being sanctified to turn from worldly ways. In the Spirit they bear witness also by their words that Jesus is Christ and King (Acts 1.8). In the Spirit and with His gifts they serve one another in love. And in the Spirit they become the target of persecution on the part of those who resent having their sins exposed. This is reason for rejoicing, Peter says, because, when we suffer with Jesus’ sufferings, we can be sure that the Spirit is at work within us and we are the children of God (the best Greek texts omit the last sentence in v. 14). But we must be careful not to bring suffering or hardship on ourselves because of disobedience. Only that suffering which mirrors the sufferings of Christ will lead to increased hope and power for Christian living.
The Structure: As the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested by the devil, so He leads us in our own wilderness to endure hardship and trial at the hands of those who desire to rule their own lives apart from the Lord. This should not surprise or upset us; it’s as natural for us to undergo these tests as it was for Jesus, and it serves to prove our relationship with Him. Suffer, then, when you must suffer, with rejoicing and hope.
How do you prepare yourself each day for the possibility of suffering and persecution?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Endure Hardship: 1 Peter 4,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.