Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pleasing God Even In Suffering

How I behave when I suffer is a testimony.

1 Peter 2:18-21  You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you--not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.   

19  For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment.  20  Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.   

21  For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in His steps.

The frequent mention of slaves in the New Testament shows that many of the first Christians must have been slaves. There are a lot of guidelines for how a slave should behave in the writing to the early church. (Ephesians 6:5-7)

What a strange state for a believer, to learn from Jesus and from the apostles that all men are created equal and yet many of them are living as slaves, they must have had a difficult time accepting the position that they were in. Yet they were told to respect the authority that they were under when they came to Christ, their lives should follow Jesus example and show love, patience and grace so that they would be a good witness.

What pleases God? Most of us know the answer, it is to do what is right, but it doesn't mean to do right only if the circumstances are good. We are told to do what is right even when we are not treated well, it doesn't get you off the hook, you can't stop living by God's standards just because of pain and trials.

You suffer? God blesses.

Matthew 5:10-12  God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. 10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.  11  "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers.  12  Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
Trouble is going to come your way even if you are living for God and even if you are working for peace. Jesus told us that God blesses those that work at being peaceful but he also warned us that we will have trouble in this world. (John 16:33)

Jesus didn't tell us to endure through suffering and whine and complain, he said that we should be happy about it, God's ways are so unnatural for us.

God promises blessings upon his children but we may not receive them until we arrive at out eternal home in heaven. Those blessings can be difficult to wait for but if we really take an honest look at our lives we will have to admit that living with God in control and going through hard times is a much better life than going through those difficult times without him.

I am called to do good, even if it means suffering, I need to do what God calls me to do. How I behave when the pressure is on is a testimony to the power of God in my life. (1 Peter 2:21)