God uses suffering as a tool to help us be what we ought to be in holiness and to be more like Christ.
I Peter 5:10 (Amplified Classic)…after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you…will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely…
Suffering: anything that hurts or irritates, a trial or tribulation, distress, pain, harm, loss. It’s important how we handle suffering because it affects us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It’s a promise that we’re going to have tribulation and trials that come against us. God is asking us to be of good cheer because he’s overcome the world.
John 16:33…in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation…be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Suffering is painful and perplexing but purposeful. God has an end result in mind that we’re more like Christ. He doesn’t cause us to suffer for no reason but to prove and test us. James said “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing…the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:1-3). Suffering produces perseverance, character, and is a purifier. It provides opportunity to learn and be an example to the world. Suffering requires the right response if we’re successful to accomplish God’s purpose. Some people have a wrong response from the enemy when they suffer. Our purpose needs to be that we be what God wants. Suffering is predestined and inevitable so we need to expect it. Suffering is a struggle but it is God’s tool to train us to be more like Christ. Many people suffer because they aren’t able to accept change. During this pandemic people have suffered because they weren’t willing to accept change. God wants everyone to accept what comes to us and act like God wants. Suffering can be mysterious so we don’t know why we’re suffering until later when we see things God has taught us. Job didn’t hear God say to Satan, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8). Satan said if God took all Job’s goods away, he’d curse God. God permitted that Job didn’t hear it. It was a very dark place and Job couldn’t see God anywhere but he realized God knew where he was. He knew when God had tried him, he’d come forth as gold and God had a purpose in it. He determined to hold on to the scriptures and not depart from God’s way. God uses suffering to discipline us. When we get saved, we need correction to walk with God. As a child we needed correction. A child left without any correction will not act like a son. At times we don’t have a right attitude or handle things like God wants. He corrects us for our profit so we’ll be partakers of Christ’s holiness.
Hebrews 12:5-8 And ye have forgotten the exhortation…My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked…For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son…If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons…if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Hebrews 12:10-11 For they…chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening…seemeth to be joyous, but grievous…it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness…
Jesus called the brothers Simon and Andrew to follow him. They were fishermen with James and John. Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter. Peter was hasty, irritable, headstrong, and outspoken. Peter was prone to get excited. Jesus took him with James and John up a mountain and they saw Moses and Elijah. Peter wanted to build tabernacles for them and Jesus. God answered Peter “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5) and showed it wasn’t what he wanted. Later at the garden of Gethsemane when people came to arrest Jesus, Peter cut off the high priest servant’s ear with his sword. Jesus picked it up and put it back on the servant’s head. He told Peter to put his sword up and they that live by the sword will die by the sword. Peter wasn’t willing to suffer. He spoke what he personally thought to Jesus, because he didn’t want to suffer. He couldn’t fathom that in serving God they would have to suffer so much. Up to this time they hadn’t suffered much. Jesus rebuked Peter and he took the rebuke and didn’t get offended.
Matthew 16:21-25 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must…suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he…said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but…that be of men…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me…whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
We have to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily to follow Jesus. It’s a requirement. Peter backslid because he wasn’t willing to suffer. He didn’t make up his mind that he was going suffering and was ashamed to admit it. When persecution and affliction came the apostles denied Christ. Peter denied him three times. That changed when he was converted.
Mark 4:16-17 And these…sown on stony ground…the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but…when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
We all have to watch in these times that we don’t let distractions, cares, and anxieties rob us so we can’t bring fruit to perfection. God is looking for fruit from our life. He wants the fruits of love, joy, and peace to be produced regardless of circumstances. We won’t have joy, be in the word, and pray for others as we should if we’re full of distraction, fears, or anxiety.
Mark 4:18-19 (Amplified Classic) And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.
God wants us to be 100% completely sold out so we deny ourselves, take up our cross, follow him, and are sanctified. After Jesus arose, he asked Peter three times if he loved him. Peter said yes. The third time Jesus told him “feed my sheep.” He gave Peter a purpose in life to fulfill. On the day of Pentecost when Holy Spirit came, Peter preached and 3,000 souls were saved! Peter was put in prison because he refused to stop preaching. He said we ought to obey God rather than man. Peter was a changed man because he totally committed himself as a vessel God could use for his glory. Four quaternions (four shifts of four soldiers) guarded him in prison. The angel of God came and Peter was freed from his chains because the church prayed without ceasing. God was faithful because Peter willingly suffered and God still had a job for him to do. God will help us with what we need for what we face because he’s got a job for us. We need to be faithful to do what he wants. Many are sick, have problems, trials, and suffering. Pray for each other that God will move in a special way for them.
Acts 12:1-7…Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James…proceeded further to take Peter…put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers…but prayer was made without ceasing of the church…Peter was sleeping between two soldiers…angel of the Lord came…And his chains fell off…
The theme in Peter’s writings is victory over suffering, how God wants us to suffer, and how God uses suffering. When Jesus talked about suffering, Peter didn’t want to suffer. Now he’s encouraging us to suffer the right way and be victorious.
I Peter 1:6-8 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season…ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith…more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus…having not seen, ye love…believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable…
God doesn’t want us feeling sorry for ourselves, but wants us to not lose our joy or thanksgiving during the hard trials. He wants us to be willing to suffer and take it patiently even if we’re not wrong. Our attitude needs to glorify God. The secret to having joy and peace in trials is that we’re humble and committed to do whatever God wants.
I Peter 2:19-23…if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer…ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God…Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example…should follow…Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when…he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
Peter said don’t think fiery trials are strange. God wants us to go through with his help and a different attitude than the world.
I Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened…But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that…ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
God is not the author of “some” grace but of “all grace.” His grace is sufficient for us to have a right attitude as we’re being perfected so we have victory in afflictions and tests to we learn what God wants. We can boldly go to the throne of grace.
I Peter 5:6-10 Humble yourselves therefore…Casting all your care upon him…Be sober, be vigilant; because…the devil, as a roaring lion…seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith…the same afflictions are accomplished …in the world. But the God of all grace…after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.