Endure part 8
“How to suffer well”
1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you must live in harmony, be sympathetic, love as brothers, and be compassionate and humble.”
Last week we learned about harmony and how to live in it. Be sympathetic; feelings matter, though we don’t want to be led by them we do need to pay attention to them. Emotions turn interaction into connections. Love as brothers. Be compassionate and humble. Sympathy is a feeling, but compassion is an action. Humility is the key ingredient to community; it is the preferring of other people before yourself.
Peter now gives the Church 5 steps to follow to “suffer well.”
Be a blessing. 9 Do not pay others back evil for evil or insult for insult. [Instead], keep blessing them, because you were called to inherit a blessing.” It is natural to want to pay back evil for evil.
To “suffer well” you will need to see God correctly; when I begin to see God correctly, I will begin to respond to other people’s action toward me correctly! “… Instead, keep blessing them…” Why should you consider this? “… because you were called to inherit a blessing.” Giving a blessing to me means to look for an opportunity to be a miracle for someone else! We can stay messed up like the world or we can bless and become the miracle that someone else is looking for! If you want to get blessings you must give blessings.
Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Blessing is the way you take the knife out of your back! Do you really want to get them good? Then do it God’s way and bless! Stop letting the ugliness in others kill the beauty that God has placed in you!
2. Be clean. 10 “For the person who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
If you are going to “suffer well” you must learn to control your tongue! If you don’t control your tongue, it will control you! Spiritual maturity develops through response to suffering and its evidence is seen by the use of the tongue.
11 He must turn away from evil and do good. He must seek peace and pursue it. Today’s culture is filtered through the internet which is a place were hurt people can say whatever they want whenever they want.
The temptation is to become angry with these hurt people and tell them off. Yet Peter says to turn from evil; to seek peace and pursue it.
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. We were created by God to be used by Him and for His glory. All we need to be is an empty vessel that is clean. God’s desire is to pour into you so you can spill out on others!
Know that Lord is always watching. 12 “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
When we are going through suffering the Lord is watching; He sees all of it; this should give us great confidence when everything seems to be falling apart. David knew this when He was running from King Saul.
Ps 34:15-19 “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Run your course with confidence; finish the race well and remember He is watching it all.
4. Do not fear. 13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled.
To suffer well we cannot fear what the world fears. Our life and mission is more than just about some moment. It is more than just one presidential election; it is about eternity! If the Church in America fails in this moment it will only be because it is fearing what the world is fearing. If God is for us who can be against us! Do not let the distractions of your moment take your attention away from your destiny!
“… if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.”
5. Become prepared. (Be ready to give an answer) 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your [hearts], and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
Suffering will give us the stage on which to stand and declare the reason of hope that is in us. I don’t have hope because of the absence of suffering; I have hope because I know He walks with me through it!
I don’t believe in God because He keeps me from suffering; I believe because He took me through it!
What matters most today is not what you are going through, but who you are going to. He is the only firm foundation. Suffer well! Be a blessing; be clean; know the Lord is always watching; don’t fear, and become prepared.