“Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you.”-{1 Peter 4:12 ampc}


Note Peter’s reassuring, tender and affectionate beginning as he broaches this subject of suffering to them, “Beloved.” In the midst of trials, suffering, we must never forget we are “God’s Beloved.” Too often in our misunderstanding about God, we believe in the “merit system,” which goes like this, if we are “doing good,” then God rewards us and that includes keeping us from pain, any pain, such as trials, suffering, and also if we are “doing wrong,” we can expect suffering as a sign of God’s displeasure. That is how most of us think. Like a spiritual “see-saw,” depending on which type of “works” you are doing, tips the scale in which end goes up and which end goes down.  So, if we start from  our good works of self-effort in our mind “merits,” earns, deserves being excused and kept from difficulties, trials, suffering as an outward badge to others that we are “walking with God,” or that we are “doing good” spiritually, because we are being sheltered and kept from trials, difficulties, then when trials do show up in our life, some unexpectedly, we are shocked, surprised, and a little put out by God, “How could He allow this to happen? Why would He allow this?” And we tend to turn on God, that somehow He is letting us down and not doing what we believe He should!

THE PROBLEM? We start off with a wrong concept of God, His ways and will for His children. Our Foundation is faulty therefore our view, focus is off. We have a wrong view of God! And as we begin with a false concept of God, it will be revealed when trouble comes we falsely believe we should be saved from it, and at times feel we have a “right” to be. And this is why we need to renew our mind in His Word to see things as they are from His perspective and adjust our thinking to build our lives on the truth!-{Read Romans 12:2}

We have believed a lie, that Christians should be sheltered from troubles if they are “doing good” and “trying,” despite the fact we have read our Bibles and the New Testament about various people who have suffered and passages that speak of trials being part and parcel of the normal Christian life. It is like we read it, but don’t believe it is for us because of our misconceptions are stronger than His Word in our thinking! We read “into” Scripture what we want it to mean rather than reading “out from” what it is saying. We interject our opinions into it to make it read what we want it to say, rather than what it is saying and allowing it to mould and influence our thinking so we are aligned with God!

The people whom Peter was writing to were suffering, slandered and scattered,  they were part of a society that it is estimated had 60 million slaves and the Roman government, in a court of law, slaves had no rights and were treated not as people but things to be used. Christians were seen as anti government, not by their deeds but because they were considered “atheists” as they did not believe the head of Rome was “LORD” but “Jesus!  They were accused of cannibalism, eating children, offering them as sacrifices, Peter in 1 Peter 2:11-15 shows them how to respond, by being Godly citizens in an ungodly society as it is the will of God for them, it Glorifies Him and is a testimony and opportunity to show forth the changing power of Christ in their lives to society. Rome had burned and Nero had said it was the Christians who had done this and so sentiment was against them in a hostile way as a result.

So Let’s look at a few things to Know regarding Trials, Suffering…

1.-SUFFERING IS TO BE EXPECTED; He says, “do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;” It is Inevitable. Don’t become disillusioned, disheartened, discouraged, or “turning inward” or “against God,” because you didn’t think this was supposed to happen! From the way it is written they were surprised, shocked, and, “Do not be surprised,” is a COMMAND, “STOP being shocked…STOP being surprised,”  “STOP THINKING ” this way, that suffering, and trials are some foreign or unexpected thing, as though it is not normal or somehow you should be excluded from them!  

“DO NOT BE SURPRISED” – {Xenizo} it is used ten times in the New Testament. It speaks of a sudden feeling of something unexpected, being shocked, astonished at the strangeness of something. It is a command and the way it is written is “STOP THINKING IT A THING ALIEN,”…”STOP BEING SHOCKED!” They were as it were, caught off guard, shocked, surprised. The idea is that they were already shocked at what was happening and He commands them to stop it and with His command comes His Power to obey.-{Read Phil 2:13; 2 Peter 1:3-4}

Suffering for Christ will separate those who are genuinely His versus those who are following Him for what He can do for them rather than for Who He is and His worthiness to follow. “The verb “were happening” is an interesting verb, “sumbain,” it means to fall by chance. Don’t think that when you’re persecuted it’s something that happened by chance.  No, God allowed it and designed it for your testing, your purging, your purification, your cleansing. First, it proves whether you’re real and then it purges the dross out of your life.  Persecution, affliction, suffering are not accidental, nor do they interfere with God’s plan. They are right in God’s plan, should be common to all Christians.  They are common to all faithful Christians. “-{John Mac Arthur.}

God uses suffering to reveal the genuineness of our faith… to us… as well as to others. And also uses it to to change us, weaning us from self-reliance where we think we can control our world, and all in it and how people treat us respond to us, we realize we are not in control, and cannot control. Paul puts it this way and gives us a principle to think about, to encourage us, “…indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;” -{2 Cor 1:9}. We are Weaned to Lean on Him and His love, His Power who raises the dead! Self reliance has no power, authority in the spiritual realm!

The more involved in living and proclaiming the Gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ will often result in greater persecution, opposition, and animosity! 

2. VERIFICATION; We see one reason for trials, sufferings, and great pressures on a believer is not punishment, for Jesus bore our punishment but for VERIFICATION. Verification to show we are genuine, the real deal, belonging to Christ.”…which comes along you for your testing...”… “… to test your quality.” Peter put it this way, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,  SO THAT that the proof of your faithbeing more precious than gold which is perishable, even though 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}

3. GOD LOVES YOU; You are His “BELOVED.”  Divinely loved and cared for ones!

BELOVED” -{ Agapetos}. It speaks of “Divinely love ones,” He uses a term compassion, affection to remind them of how much they are loved and cared for and to know suffering, trials, and difficulties do not reverse, nullify, erase, or deny that they are “Beloved” of God and Peter. They are always Loved and difficulties are not a sign that they have lost their favored place in the heart of God!  It could be easy for these people as for us to think that when difficulties come, and they suffered horrifically to question “Does God love me?” and then the accusation follows fueled by our ignorance and an evil one prompting, “Then WHY is this happening…How could He love me and allow this to happen ?” Peter assures them that though life is difficult and they are experiencing suffering that God DOES love them and he loves them! This is unchanging, not negotiable, but settled in the heart of God, that He loves these people as He does you! Difficulties for Christ, we often falsely believe are the Displeasure of God and we can’t understand and it can lead to spiraling down into despair, all because we start off at the wrong place, we start off with a false concept about God and how He should “behave” not as being God but being who we believe and how we believe He should behave based on our faulty thinking!  This is why we have to renew our minds so we can prove what is the good, well-pleasing will of GOD-{Read Romans 12:2}

Here is a fact based on Scripture. Becoming a Follower of Christ means suffering is part of the package!

The false Gospel appeals to self and offers health, wealth and prosperity, and that God wants to take all your problems, remove them and you will never have any more. He will eliminate them and protect you from them, but the true Gospel says suffering is part of the package, expect it, don’t be surprised by it when it comes!

The word “FIERY” literally means “Burning!” In the Old Testament was used of a furnace,” it was used of metal being purged of all foreign elements but what was genuine. Psalm 66:10,-” You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver. ” In 1 Peter 1:6-7, he speaks of the “fiery” trials that come upon them and how the genuineness of their faith is revealed and will be rewarded at the appearing of the LORD Jesus.


  •  GOD IS PRESENT WITH YOU; “ If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.”- {1 Peter 4:14 nlt}. Note His Love expressed through His assurance that when insulted for Christ you are not alone, abandoned, or forgotten for we read, “The Glorious Spirit of God RESTS upon you.” They are Objectively blessed because the glorious Spirit is present with them! It has nothing to do with “feeling” but fact. He says so! The word “REST” means to “REFRESH” YOU by empowering you, taking over.

4. -KEEP REJOICING- So what do we do in the meantime if we are Suffering? Verse 13 tells us to “keep rejoicing…” It is present tense, so let this be the pattern, habit of your life when suffering. “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” Rejoice because you are suffering for Christ. People treat you the way they would treat Christ if He was here… they take it out on you, so continually rejoice for this privilege also knowing of the future hope to look forward to. Jesus says in Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “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… keep rejoicing” because of the identification you have with the LORD Jesus -{Read Col 1:24. You are suffering for righteousness sake, for Jesus sake! and Keep rejoicing because of the future hope, to the degree you share in His suffering will be the degree of eternal reward!|

1 Peter 4:13 tells us to keep rejoicing… “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” Rejoice because you are suffering for Christ, and knowing of the future hope to look forward to.

5.- TRUST HIM !-Verse 19 says…“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” Know that there is suffering that is in alignment with God’s will, so don’t be surprised when you suffer for living and doing right and proclaiming Him. Commit, entrust yourself to Him,


6.-AND KEEP DOING GOOD!-Verse 19 says… and keep doing good!”  Don’t stop doing good, but keep doing good! The temptation in suffering could be to withdraw, isolate, keep yourself, and become ingrown, focusing on yourself, but Peter tells them to go on as it was the offense of continuing to do that which is beneficial, useful… good. Benefit and bless others by continuing to do good!

Remember, when it comes to Suffering…

  1. SUFFERING IS TO BE EXPECTED; Don’t Be surprised. Expect Suffering. Be – {v 14}
  2. GOD LOVES YOU; -{v 14}
  3. VERIFICATION; These  sufferings authenticate you are the Real Deal – {v 14}
  4. KEEP REJOICING; Because of Who you know and What you know- {v 13}.
  5. TRUST HIM; Entrust yourself to God -{v 19}
  6. KEEP DOING GOOD; -{v 19}