Well...we are finishing with the book of 1 Peter. Its been a good series and I trust you’ve gained as much from it as I have. Ron finished this week with Peter’s focus on suffering well. The overall big picture in the book itself is living for Christ in a world that doesn’t. We live in such a world, just like the world in Peter’s time. We live in a post Christian world. Christian influence is no longer the dominant influence. This can actually be a good thing. It can cause us to be sharper in our Christian lives and more dependent on the Lord and his Word. This dependent need to cry out to God for his help and grace is fundamental to our walk in Christ. This in turn means we can grow stronger and are more able to endure and thrive in times of suffering.
In order to suffer well we need to remember a couple of things. First its good to remember that Jesus is bigger than anything this world can throw at you. The greater Jesus is in your eyes, the less you fear or worry about anything you might face in this life. Secondly, remember that as Jesus is bigger to you and in you, others will see this and want to know what’s up. Why are you so hopeful when hope seems to be so scant in the rest of the world? When people ask we need to be ready with the answer; Jesus is bigger. He is Lord!
Finally, to suffer well in this world you need to maintain a clear or good conscience. For a Christian having a clear conscience is knowing we are living our lives by the Word of God and growing and maturing in our commitment to do so. Our conscience is like warning sensors on our car. When the sensor detects a problem it sends a message to the dashboard and warns us something is wrong or needs attention. This is what our conscience does. It detects something amiss in our lives as we evaluate according to God’s Word and we can identify it and correct the problem.
When we do these things as Peter counsels us we will find ourselves able to suffer well. Suffering is not a matter of if but when. When it does come God can use it in a mighty way to cause us to grow and in doing that be a witness to a world that has no hope, but desperately needs it.