Good Suffering

Today’s psuedo-random Bible verse is 1 Peter 4:16:

 

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

 

We like to think things “ought” to be a certain way for us.  We like comfort and pleasure.  We don’t like people to hate us.  And in loving people, if we’re honest, we often treat them in selfish ways.  We want things from them, even if it’s just their approval.

Suffering is rarely included in what life “ought” to be like.  We moan in suffering because we assume there is no gain in its trial.  But this verse says there is tremendous gain to be found in suffering.

We are to suffer as Christians (not as the previous verse says: murderers, thieves, and evildoers) and that we should not be ashamed.  Why not?  Whose name do we bear as Christians and children of God?  We bear Christ’s name, who apart from there is no greater sufferer!  Jesus hung Himself on the cross for our sake.  And when His glory shines through the preaching of the gospel, men get saved.

One of the best, simple prayers is in John 12:28:

 

Father, glorify your name.

 

When life gets nasty, pray this.  Lose yourself in the spreading of God’s glory.  You will find an inexhaustible sense of comfort because your glory does not matter anymore.  You will want to love people and will not care for their approval.  You will want to give of yourself.

On this side of eternity, God’s glory will be most clearly demonstrated through sacrificial love.  So we are to suffer in a similar manner to our namesake.  Many of us will not be given the privilege of dying as martyrs, but all are called to give up themselves in love.  Love all, do no evil, and give everything.  Do not be ashamed but shine forth the glory of God!

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4 Responses to “Good Suffering”

  1. I enjoyed this wise post. It’s a good reminder…because things don’t always go as we wish…Father, glorify your name…regardless. Very sound words

    • You’re right, things don’t go as we wish. But God is always good and we live only by His goodness. So He *should* be glorified!

  2. ‘And in loving people, if we’re honest, we often treat them in selfish ways. We want things from them, even if it’s just their approval.’

    I think this is why the love that is not romantic has such an effect on us when we read about it in a story. Romantic love is plagued by the fact that when we love that one person, it is enormously self-gratifying. When we love, say, a helpless child or any person, really, who isn’t going to be tossing roses at our feet, there is something ‘other’ in that.

    Agape?

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