“A man may be perfected through suffering or be made worse through suffering; it depends on his disposition.” Oswald Chambers
Even If You Suffer For Righteousness Sake, Yahweh Will Bless You.
In 1 Peter 3:1-20 Peter reminds us of the following:
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right?
But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.
Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison (notice their flesh died but their spirit did not cease to communicate), who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
Baptism Corresponds To Noah’s Ark
:21-22 Baptism, which corresponds to this , now saves you, not a a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.”
Peter makes a profound point in I Peter 4:2-8 (not in regards to suffering perse but nevertheless important to not skip over) pertaining to the above passage. He writes the following:
so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God. Let the time that is past suffice for doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness (promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters), passions (strong and barely controllable emotion), drunkenness drunk or intoxicated), revels (engage in lively and noisy festivities, esp. those which involve drinking and dancing), carousing (drink plentiful amounts of alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way), and lawless idolatry (lawless: not governed by or obedient to laws; idolatry: extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone).
They are surprised that you do not now join them in the same wild profligacy (recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of resources), and they abuse you (like they did Noah when he built the ark); but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God.
The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers.
Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Peter speaks profound words that we ought to stop and ponder–please reread Peter’s words above.
First We Must Break Sin From Our Lives; Then we can become free of suffering.
Suffering brings us to our knees to recognize that sin leads to suffering and death. We must first seek to eliminate sin from our lives and then we can eliminate suffering. When we suffer to the point that we want to rid ourselves of sin, we will turn to Yahweh to help us break the shackles of sin from around us.
Peter says suffering causes us to cease from sin. In I Peter 4: 1-2 Peter says,
“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God.” (The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha)
I’ve learned that suffering is truly a blessing that leads to the cessation of sin. Suffering teaches us to run to God for help. Yahweh leads us to overcome sin because he did his part by paying the penalty for sin for us at the cross of Calvary. The penalty of sin is death. Yeshua (Jesus) wants to set us free from a life of sin that leads to a life of suffering.
“Partakers Of His Suffering”
Oswald Chambers makes some interesting and profound statements worth pondering on the subject of suffering. He writes,
Peter is talking about suffering and he says “the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God.”* Where is the house of God? My body. As a child of God I have no right to go through a dispensation of suffering without asking my Father the reason for it. It may be suffering because of a purpose of god which He cannot explain to you, but He makes you know in your inmost heart that all is well (see verse 19). Or it may be suffering for chastisement and discipline. An undisciplined saint is inclined either to despise the chastening and say it is of the devil, or else to faint when he is rebuked, and cave in. The writer to the Hebrews says: “If you are a saint you will be chastened, be careful, see that you don’t despise it.” (Approved Unto God, 9 R–* I Peter 4:17)
God in the midst of the storms in my life made it clear to me that he loves me. God is in control of my life. He did in fact make me know in my inmost heart that all is well like Chambers said. I’ve truly discovered that God lives within me. I am the house of God–My body. When God shows himself to you, you will know that you are never alone in your suffering. God is parting the Red Sea for you to walk through or he is with you in the fires of life. You discover that the fire cannot burn you with God by your side. This does not mean you will not suffer, but you can rest assure you will not burn or be defeated with God by your side. Eventually we grow to trust God and the suffering subsides. We no longer suffer needlessly knowing we can run to God for help, he will see us, he will hear our prayers and he will answer us.
Chambers makes another interesting point on suffering when he says the following:
We begin our religious life by believing our beliefs, we accept what we are taught without questioning; but when we come up against things we begin to be critical, and find out that the beliefs, however right, are not right for us because we have not bought them by suffering. What we take for granted is never ours until we have bought it by pain. A thing is worth just what it costs. When we go through the suffering of experience we seem t0 lose everything, but bit by bit we get is back. (Facing Reality, 25 L)
Chambers words ring oh so true! They reflect my personal walk with God. I know God to give back all that He has allowed to be removed from my life–plus added benefits!
We serve a mighty God. We serve a faithful God. We serve a merciful and gracious God. What have you learned from your personal walk with God in relation to suffering?
How has suffering trained you to become more like the image of Yeshua (Jesus)?
How does suffering help you to help others who suffer?
Why should you ask Yahweh to both help you when you suffer and free you from a life of bondage to sin (leading you to both eternal death and separation from God)?