If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; (I Peter 4:14-15 NASB)
Suffering in the Bible is described from two different perspectives. There is good and bad suffering. Spiritual maturity is being able to discern the difference between the two and act accordingly.
We often try to understand why we have trials and tribulations. In some cases, they are self-inflicted due to our wrong choices. In other instances, we suffer because we are making the right decisions. If the former is correct, the response is simple, repent of our sins. If the latter is accurate, the answer is not so immediate and straightforward, patient endurance. In trying to encourage God’s people in their current suffering, and prepare them for future tribulations, Peter drives home a central point; all suffering is temporary. “But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (v. 13).
Peter sums up this section on suffering by telling them that all righteous people suffer according to the will of God (v. 19). Matthew Henry comments on this verse by saying, “It is the duty of Christians to look more to the keeping of their souls than the preserving of their bodies.” If we take to heart this admonition, we will start to view our sufferings as good, and the burdens of this world will begin to seem minuscule compared to the exaltation of our soul in the world to come.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing