Continue to Do Good
Read 1 Peter 4:12–19
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
Peter continues in this passage on the theme of suffering as a Christian. He encourages Christians to rejoice when they suffer because of their participation in the suffering of Christ. He also instructs them to continue to do good in the midst of that suffering. Have you ever noticed how self-focused you become when you are experiencing pain of any kind? It’s perfectly natural, and it can also lead us into deeper pain and isolation. What would happen if we challenged ourselves to look outward in the midst of suffering? What if we specifically focused on serving or extending kindness to someone else? Of course we won’t be perfect, but what could happen—in our own souls and to those watching us—if we try?
- Reflect on someone you know that seems others-focused and servant-oriented even in the midst of suffering or hardship. How do they rise out of their pain and suffering? What have you noticed? What impact does their response to suffering have on you?
- What is your natural response to suffering or pain? How has God used the suffering you have experienced for a greater purpose?
- What is God seeking to draw your attention to through today’s passage?
God, thank You for these words of encouragement today. I must admit I don’t want to experience pain even if You ultimately redeem it. When I do, though, give me the awareness and the strength to step outside of myself and look to serve and do good to others. Protect me from turning inward so much that I become self-focused and isolated. Surround me with friends who will share the burdens I have. And may I be a friend to those in my life who are suffering in some way so that they don’t feel alone. Amen.
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