This week, Pastor Chris likened Christian suffering to fire. Fire represents suffering and refinement. Fire can burn away unnecessary things and break open seed that has laid dormant. According to Peter, we should not be surprised when trial comes. In seasons of trial, we have an opportunity to grow and mature in significant ways we would not find any other way. According to Chris, growth equals change, change equals loss, loss equals pain, therefore growth equals pain. When trial comes, we have two options: to sin and remain stuck or to serve and posture ourselves for growth.
1 Peter 4:1–6 (ESV)
1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;
- Sinning in Suffering: There is warfare involved in suffering. The battle of the mind is for the war of the soul. We must arm ourselves well and we cannot retreat or stand still. We no longer live to fulfill our flesh but to do God’s will. Every Christian will experience suffering and persecution. True lovers of Jesus will live as an offering to be poured out, devoted to bringing honor to the Lord.
- We must look back at what Jesus has done. Reflect on the humility and suffering that Christ lived in. Remember who you were before He saved you. Resolve to live in the new identity
- We must also look forward to Jesus’ victory and return. This is not the end of the story.
1 Peter 4:5–6 (ESV)
5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
Romans 8:18 (ESV)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
- Serving in Suffering: When we live as pilgrims in this world, the way we live and pray changes. In each season of suffering, we will have the choice to either hide away or give away our lives.God will heal us as we serve His people.
1 Peter 4:7–9 (ESV)
7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Matthew 10:39 (NLT)
39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
- The Grace to Serve Others: We each have gifting that we possess in order to serve others and benefit the church. We are each called to wisely steward God’s very grace.We do not use our giftings to serve ourselves. Your spiritual gifs are not for your glory. We need to learn how to be good stewards of God’s grace.
1 Peter 4:10 (ESV)
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
“All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” —1 Corinthians 12:11 (ESV)
“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” —1 Corinthians 12:7 (ESV)
Knowing and Living in Your Spiritual Gifts:
- Helps you find your place of ministry in the church.
- Will determine your priorities.
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” —Romans 12:6–8 (ESV)
- Helps you discern God’s will for your life.
- Edifies the body in ways only you can.
God’s will is already written into our very own being.
- Common Response: Neglect.
1 Peter 4:10–11 (ESV)
as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
- What does the reality of Jesus’ suffering teach us as His followers about suffering?
- Do you agree that the battle of the mind is for the war of the soul? How has this been true in your life?
- What does Peter say is the goal of living in our spiritual gifting?
- Have you ever chosen to hide away in a season of suffering? What would have changed if you chose to give your life away instead?
- Do you see yourself as a steward of God’s grace? How does one do this?
- Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? Take time this week to take the Spiritual Gifts test on the app. Make a plan to start serving in your gifting. Choose this week to give your life away.
- Search your heart this week and determine: what is the ultimate goal of your life? Is it to do the Lord’s will? Is it to find comfort? Take your answer to the Lord’s feet this week.
- Where do you need an upgrade: Discerning God’s will? Determining your priorities? Finding your place of ministry in church? Edifying the church body with your gifting? Determine to figure out your spiritual gifting this week with this particular area in mind.