Families/Individuals with No Young Children

Families/Individuals with no young children, please follow this devotional by Rev. Ron Ray:

1 Peter 3:13 – 4:2. 13

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. 1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

As I prayerfully consider how to approach this devotion, there are several phrases that start my mind and heart into motion. I trust that you will prayerfully consider what God is saying in the entire passage.

What jumps out at me most is in found in verse 14 about being blessed in the midst of suffering. But notice that it puts a qualification on receiving the blessing: suffering for what is right. In my days as a pastor, I found that I often suffered due to my stupid mistakes. At the time it was interpreted as persecution, when in reality I brought the suffering on myself. But in spite of my mistakes administering the church, God blessed.

But even if we do what is right, there will be persecution and suffering. It is then that the blessings of God become more real. When suffering, let us examine ourselves, our motives, our love, our faith, etc. As we receive the conformation that we are acting in accordance with God’s will, then receive the blessing and rejoice.

Point to ponder: Are you suffering? Then examine yourself. Then as God reveals the true condition of your heart, then rejoice. If need be repent and then rejoice.

Prayer: Lord help me to have a right understanding of suffering, and let it be a channel of blessing.