Are you a suffering Christian?

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith– more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire– may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

Here, Peter is motivating these persecuted Christians to suffer well by encouraging them that their suffering will result in Jesus’ exaltation, not by encouraging them that their earthly suffering will cease. In other words, Peter believes that our suffering is worth it as long as it brings Jesus glory. And he thinks we should feel that way too– rejoice in suffering.

He is assuming that our deepest longing is not for comfort, but to see Christ exalted. Because if that’s true of us, we can rejoice in our sufferings because they glorify God. Period.

We cannot suffer well if we want something more than to see Jesus glorified. If I want comfort more that God’s glory, I will be angry at God when he takes away my comfort. If I want money more than God to be exalted, I will be angry at God when I can’t make the budget work. If I want my life to go according to my plan, I will not be able to suffer well, because when God, in his grace, “ruins our plans,” we will be so audacious even to question the goodness of our Creator. As if he violated our rights.

This is not only a theological point to be agreed with, this is a standard by which we can measure our hearts. The times we feel most depressed, most angry with God, most unsatisfied with life– these are the times we need to reevaluate what our hearts are loving most.

Peter reminds us to endure suffering with joy, because, in the end, God will be glorified.

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