Monday, November 15, 2021
1 Peter 4:16
TOP 10 LIFE LIFTERS: For the next few weeks, we'll be re-releasing some of the top Life Lifters we've ever published since we started this devotional series. Join us as we look back at popular topics like prayer, joy, trust, and hope!
Why do people suffer? Why do you suffer? Let me give you thought five potential reasons any or all of these may be at work in any given time of suffering. I got this list from Chuck Swindoll. I got the list from him, but I'm amplifying it and building on it with my own thoughts and commentary. First, personally, to develop our faith, that comes from James 1:2-4. Second reason might be doctrinally, to expose error in our life in our belief system, if it exists, as First Corinthians 11:27-30. The third reason we may be suffering is vertically, to learn obedience, Hebrews 5:8. The fourth reason on why you may be suffering is horizontally, to cultivate and develop our humility. And that comes from 2 Corinthians 12:7.
Today, we are looking at the ultimate reason why you suffer. All are true, but this is the ultimate reason. Are you ready for it? The ultimate reason you suffer is to have an opportunity to glorify God. The Westminster Confession of Faith says this, "Man's chief end," meaning the chief purpose of human beings, "is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever." Sometimes one of the ways we can glorify God is in how we handle suffering. 1 Peter 4:16 tells us this in this very powerful verse. Peter says,"However, if you suffer as a Christian," as opposed to suffering for doing something silly and stupid, "if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear his name." Isn't that amazing? Praise God that you bear his name. The apostles were beaten in the book of Acts for talking about Jesus Christ. But they did not say, "Oh my gosh, I'm hurting. That hurt. I can't believe Jesus let me go through that," which was something you and I do sometimes. Instead, they left praising God that they were considered worthy by God to suffer for his name.
Sometimes you're going to suffer for his name. How does that happen? You go to work, you stand up for what's right, and you're mocked. You're suffering for his name. You're trying to be a witness in your neighborhood, you won't get drunk with your friends, and they ostracize you. You're suffering for his name. You tell somebody about Christ, and they reject you, your faith, and everything about you. You're suffering for his name. Or, sometimes you try to build into your kids and your kids have gone wayward. Don't give up your ground, because you're suffering for his name. I could go on and on. It is very, very possible that God wants to ground you in him more deeply by allowing you to suffer even for doing what's right. The first four reasons people suffer, developing your faith, exposing error in doctrine, disobedience and obedience, and humility are all growth areas. They're all things that are wrong that need improvement or correction. This last one is a reaffirmation of what is right. To glorify God, that is the goal of life. I want my life to glorify God, do you? Do you want everything you do to glorify God? Of course, we're never going to get there completely, but we're going to strive to get there aren't we? Sometimes when you want to live for Christ, the Bible says all who desire to live a godly life will suffer persecution. You cannot live a godly life and expect to not be criticized and mocked for it. Our world is turned upside down. Wrong is right and right is wrong. In terms of sexuality, wrong is right and right is wrong. In terms of morality, wrong is right and right is wrong. When it comes to honesty and so many other things, wrong is right and right is wrong. That's one of the signs of the end times, and we're certainly getting close.
I want to say this: if you're suffering because you're a Christian, glorify God. Say, "Thank You, Lord, that you chose me to be the one to suffer for your name." It's very, very hard to do. Let's pray. Father in heaven, we want to glorify you with our lives. Nobody here wants suffering. Nobody reading this wants to suffer, but we want all of these good things, especially this chief one: to glorify you in our lives. If suffering is what it takes, God, give us the grace to endure suffering and glorify you through it. Let us glorify you by standing up for the truth, glorify you by praising your name throughout (not like Job's friends), and to glorify you when we get through it, and we're a better person and can glorify you even better. Thank you for all of this. I pray that this helps those who read it, in Jesus' name. Amen.