Perhaps you are having a hard time at home, school, work, for your identification with the LORD Jesus. Maybe ostracized, mocked, people looking for you to fail so they can accuse you and make fun of you, try and trip you up with questions, tempt you so as to sin and then if you succumb be there to point out at the other end that you are a hypocrite. Perhaps in a marriage where your spouse is not a believer, or a child whose parent does not know the LORD and seek to belittle your faith, Or in a job where perhaps you have been passed over for promotion because of your relationship and stand with the LORD Jesus. It is not that you are perfect, but you have a Perfect Savior who is working in you and through you and some hate you because they hate Him who loves you and died because He loves them too!

Peter was writing to a people who were scattered, slandered, suffering greatly and we can glean some truths from 1 Peter 4:12-13

1.Suffering is A Privilege; 

unwanted yet embraced by the disciple who rejoiced because they were counted worthy to suffer for Him! The suffering revealed what was IN them! They saw it as a Privilege, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.“-{Acts 5:41} . They saw it as a privilege and the evidence they rejoiced “because”… that is introducing us to the reason for their rejoicing, namely, “… they had been counted WORTHY of suffering disgrace for the NAME.” What was IN them came out in rejoicing because  they valued the LORD Jesus so much, and they saw suffering for Him as a privilege! The word “rejoicing” is “chairo” meaning,”cheer, full, to be calmly happy,” and it is in the present tense, they were continually rejoicing, this is not normal, or self manufactured it is the supernatural work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. They had been beaten and beaten, 39 lashes, and yet they were rejoicing!

No one likes suffering, but the apostles show us the motivation for their rejoicing, was the privilege of suffering disgrace for the Name of Christ! Their hearts, thought process, loyalty, allegiance to the LORD Jesus was a privilege for the apostles to suffer for identification with Him who had loved them to the cross! What love. 


2. Suffering is to be Expected;

Don’t be surprised by it! Peter wrote “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you…as though some strange thing were happening to you.” -{1 Peter 4:12}.  The word “surprised,” {xenizo} means to be startled, bewildered… “to experience a sudden feeling of unexpected wonder, surprise or astonishment as the result of the strangeness and novelty of something. To be shocked.”-{preceptaustin}. The story of the man who was paralyzed who was healed and the peoples response give us a picture of being astonished, shocked, surprised, “and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”-{Acts 3:10}

It is a command, present imperative to “stop thinking it is a thing alien,” they were continually astonished, surprised that they were experiencing fiery trials! We tend to think of trials, suffering as abnormal, and are shocked, surprised when suffering, “fiery trials,” come our way, as if something is unusual is happening! So it is be prepared mentally.Peter throughout the book calls the believers to be alert, be sober minded, be ready mentally –

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”-{1 Peter 1:13}. “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”-{1 Peter 3:15}. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”-{1 Peter 5:8-9}.

 Don’t be caught off guard as if something strange is happening when suffering, fiery trials come your way as if something strange was happening- because it’s not! It’s normal, it’s to be expected, so align your thinking that way. “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.”-{John 15:18}. “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,“-{Philippians 1:29}; Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. -{2 Timothy 3:12}. Fiery trials,” suffering for Christ is to be…Expected! 

3. Suffering is Painful; 

“…at the fiery ordeal among you.” -{v 12}. The word “fiery” speaks of “burning,” it is used of “furnace,”in the Old Testament it was used of a furnace where metal was melted down so as to get rid of impurities, everything that was foreign to the genuineness of the metal. Suffering for your faith in Christ is painful but it has purpose. Peter spoke of “distress” in verse 6 and the word means, “mental anguish, tearfully sorrowful.” Following Christ is not without cost!

4. Suffering is Designed, not By Chance; 

The verb for “…were happening to you,” -{1 Peter 4:12}. The Greek verb “sumbain, it means to fall by chance. ” It doesn’t just happen by chance!  “In the NT, 4819 /symbaínō (“happen”) chiefly refers to God’s providence, i.e. that the Lord arranges all the physical scenes of life to work in conjunction with His eternal purpose. Indeed, the two always go together – which means “everything is happening (4819 /symbaínō) as it should” (G. Archer).

God uses it, even the evil of others for your good, not destruction. To reveal your faith is genuine, –{1 Peter 1:7}; to Glorify God -{1 Peter 2:12}; as you submit to civil authority, “…For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.”-{1 Peter 2:15}. And also to spiritually mature you.-{Read 1 Peter 5:10}. And to afford you opportunity to give an account of the hope that is within you to those who ask, because of the way you are conducting your life amidst suffering.-{Read 1 Peter 3:15-16}.

5. Suffering has a Divine Purpose;

“…which comes upon you for your testing.”-{1 Peter 4:12}. The word for “fiery trial,”– “purósis” means “a burning hence a refining,” {NASB Lexicon}. “Testing “…the idea of putting to the test and then refers to the tests or pressures that come in order to discover a person’s nature or the quality of some thing.”-{preceptaustin,}.  “Trials are intended to make us think, to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible, to drive us to our knees.”-{JC Ryle}.

Like pre-season training for an athlete is preparation and thought it can be painful, tiring, yet the purpose of it is to build up the athlete not have them breakdown. It can help shed unwanted pounds as well, in order to be at their peak athletically. And though we cannot compare that to the suffering that some Christians experience which is severe, cruel, rejection, persecution, and what the evil one would like to use to tear you down, God uses to build you up in your faith. He uses it to disclose to YOU that your faith is genuine, the real deal, and is manifested in the fact you continue to love Him, continue to trust Him and continue to rejoice because of Him! -{ Read 1 Peter 1:6-8}.

6. Suffering is Not to dampen your Rejoicing, But Spur it on;

“but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”-{1 Peter 4:12-13}. “Keep on rejoicing,” is that a typo? Shouldn’t it be “keep on complaining, keep on being upset that is happening to you, Keep on being angry with God…” No, none of these! He says to these believers who are scattered, slandered and suffering ones “Keep on rejoicing!” Why would he say that? Jesus suffered for saying what was right, He suffered for doing right, so he says “to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ.” Not that you suffer to redeem and pay the penalty of peoples sin which is impossible but just as Jesus suffered for saying what was right, and suffered for doing right, as you suffer for saying what is right according to His Word and do what is right according to His Word with the right motive in doing right, Jesus says in Matthew 5;10-12- “ “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ” Rejoice because you have a Reward in Heaven awaiting you, Rejoice because you are in a royal line of those who were loyal to the LORD, Rejoice because your life’s choices give testimony of whom you belong to! See it as a Privilege to suffer for Christ.

Note in 1 Peter 4;14, “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” “Reviled” speaks of being insulted, mistreated, unfairly, unlovingly for “the name of Christ,” what does that mean? His “Name” represents all who He is, His character, and note they were not just suffering unjustly because of their allegiance, identification to Him but also because of their proclamation of Him! They were proclaiming “the Name of Christ,” and they were suffering for it! And like Paul and Silas rejoiced because of  the privilege to suffer “for the Name.” Peter in Acts 4:12 said that there was “no other Name” by which we must be saved by.” 

Note the story in Acts 4 of the healing  of the healing of  a man through “The Name” of Jesus and the response to this wonderful work was not seen as wonderful by the enemies of the LORD…And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another,  saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” “The Name…? “Jesus! Miracles in His Name was met with threats.  And when they were released they went and told their companions all that had been said to them and they glorified God!

And Peter shows us when we identify and proclaim “The Name,” it is met with hostility, and as it was so it is in different parts of the world, people do not mind you saying “God,” but the atmosphere and attitudes can often change when you mention “The Name above all names” the Lord Jesus! There is Power in the Name and so we proclaim Him, but understand there is opposition to “The Name!” 

Back to Peter in 1 Peter 4:13, “Keep on rejoicing” Peter says, “so that also at the  revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” When He appears, and as you are rejoicing now for the privilege to suffer for His sake as Paul, Silas and countless others have, you will rejoice greatly when you see Him. And the eternal reward will reflect your suffering for Him!

7. Sufferings Reward;

Listen to the LORD Jesus, Listen to the words of Jesus in Luke 6:22-23, “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.” The word “Leap “for joy because you are being persecuted for Christ sake! and because of what He says concerning your suffering here, will be rewarded by Him in Heaven… you are going to Heaven to meet Him, be with Him and He is going to Praise your faith, Honor your faith -{1 Peter 1:6-7} and He will reward your allegiance to Him as you suffered for identification with Him!

8. Suffering’s Opportunities;

but sanctify,{set apart} Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” -{1 Peter 3;15-16}. In the midst of their suffering their response stood out to such an extent they were to be ready to know how to answer those who would ask them what was their “hope?” Sufferings afforded them opportunities to share the Gospel of the LORD Jesus, it didn’t extinguish their testimony but afforded opportunities!  


Suffering Changes us;

Bitter, angry, resentful towards God, or humbled, dependent on Him, understanding from Him the privilege, purpose of Suffering for Christ sake!  By His grace in dependence upon His Spirit to help us think right and empower us to continually do right when suffering for Christ sake, to Honor Him and be used by Him to reach out to others, encourage the believers and remind them of truth regarding suffering from these verses and also to reach out to even enemies of the cross who we too were once like to love them with the love of Christ and reach out and share the fame of Christ that by His grace they may come to know Him personally.

Suffering changes people, either become hardened, bitter or tender, empathetic and by His Spirit a new perspective through His Word in how we look at Suffering through the lens of Scripture, as the outline above shows  8 Aspects Of Suffering, and by His Grace… Change Us, for His fame and the benefit of others for His sake!