Suffering and submitting.
Two words many Christians don’t like to talk about… including me.
Yet here in verses 11-12, Peter encourages us – like a good friend – to keep our focus in the midst of the suffering. To live lives that glorify God.
Sometimes God allows the suffering because of what it produces in our lives. Ironically, many times it’s the suffering that matures our faith and makes us stronger rather than the days of blessing. As I read over these verses, I’m reminded that as Christians, we are told in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33). So it’s not really a matter of “IF,” but rather “WHEN” trouble and suffering will arise.
When people accuse you of doing wrong… how will you respond?
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)
When an injustice is committed against you…will you retaliate?
“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate, when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”- 1 Peter 2: 23
Dear friend, if this is where you find yourself today, let me encourage you…
God has not abandoned you in this pain. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
The hurt and rejection you are feeling? Jesus has experienced that same heartache.
Remember Whose you are. YOU, my dear, are a child of the King….you bear his name! (Galatians 3:26)
Trust God in this moment. He is working! Growth always occurs first underneath the soil.
Even though you don’t understand it now, God does have a plan. Walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
In verses 13-17, Peter goes on to talk about the importance of submitting to those instituted in authority in our lives. I know this can be a hot topic, especially with the character and integrity of some of our leaders. But nonetheless we are called to submit to them for the Lord’s sake (vs. 13). Because this life? It really isn’t about us. It’s about Him and our obedience to Him.
Does this mean that as Christians we can’t stand up for ourselves and voice our opinions? Absolutely not, but we need to remember to do so in a respectable manner.
“It is possible to submit to the institutions and still disobey the laws.”- Warren W. Wiersbe
The story of Daniel and his friends choosing not to eat the food of the king is a great example:
“…they disobeyed the law, but the way that they did is proved that they honored the king and respected the authorities (Dan. 1). They were not rebels; they were careful not to embarrass the official in charge or get him in trouble; and yet they stood their ground. They gloried God and, at the same time, honored the authority of the king.”- Warren W. Wiersbe
We know we are not saved by our good works, but God calls us to do good with the lives He has blessed us with and in doing so, we silence the critics by the evidence of him working through us. We don’t accomplish this by opposing their authority.
“A true Christian submits himself to authority because he is first of all submitted to Christ. He uses his freedom as a tool to build with and not as a weapon to fight with.”- Warren W. Wiersbe
Yet in Acts 5:29 Peter says, “We must obey God rather than men.” …
So the issue comes down to discernment. We respect the office and submit to the authority in our lives unless we have to choose between obeying God or obeying men….
This is why we must be in God’s Word. We have to study it and pray for discernment to know when it’s right to submit to authority that has been placed over us and when to take a stand in obedience to God.
Dear friends, there will be days when following Jesus will take everything we have. Days when we will have to lean hard into Him and His love for us, remembering that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…a people belonging to God (1 Peter 2:9). May it be said of us when outsiders look at our lives that we loved each other well, that we lived upright, obedient lives in love for our Lord and that we honored those in positions over us.
Looking to Jesus as our example…may we live lives in service to one another, willing to suffer and submit for the greater good…the glory of God!
There is no greater time than now…the world is watching!
Love God Greatly!
On a personal note…
It has always been a dream of mine to one day travel to Italy…God in his amazing ways has recently blessed be with an opportunity, through our new partnership with Global Advance, to travel there this week and speak to hundreds of women about Love God Greatly and the amazing work he is doing through our ministry! (My husband and I are also extending the trip and celebrating our 15th year anniversary, too….why not?!!!) I would SO appreciate your prayers as I travel to Italy! Please pray for God to speak through me to these precious women’s hearts! Ohh how I want to serve him well! Thank YOU for joining me on this amazing journey! To God be all glory!