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The Scriptorium

Fiery Trials

1 Peter 4.12-15

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 1 13 but rejoice to the extent you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory is revealed you also may be glad with exceeding joy. 14If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer. or as a busybody in other people’s matters.

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.


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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