Have you ever felt this way? – I want to trust God, but I just don’t know what He is up to.
Trusting God Through It All
In Peter’s letter to the church, he mentions a very specific kind of suffering that Christians were experiencing: they were insulted.
Honor and Shame
- Honor was the most sought after commodity
- Honor meant you had a place within the larger community
- Honor had to be publicly acknowledged in order for it to be granted
- Honor was transmitted to the larger family
- Shame could also be transmitted to the entire family
- Modern example — think of high school social dynamics
Discuss this question: What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done for someone you really cared about?
Key Question: Would you be willing to face embarrassment for following God?
1. Don’t be surprised by suffering — 1 Peter 4:12
We have become so accustomed to living in comfort that suffering of any kind seems like a foreign invader.
Consider this: If comfort is your constant goal, then you will probably be uncomfortable most of the time.
Comfort seeking and protecting…
- keeps us from having conversations we should have
- keeps us from tackling projects that are looming over us
- keeps us from starting an exercise regime
- keeps us locked into unhealthy routines of binge watching, binge eating, and binge spending
- keeps us from pursuing crazy, heart-pumping, mind-lifting adventures
Suffering connects you with Jesus like nothing else does — 1 Peter 4:13
This is the divine circuit to glory
Shame and pain are the necessary paths toward glory and joy
What is God up to?
He is bringing me through shame and pain in order to make me look, think and act like Jesus. Following Jesus requires moments of suffering.
Application: As you follow Jesus, what is the uncomfortable thing you need to do this week that will shape your life into Christ-likeness? Do that.
1 Peter 4:12-14
TALK IT OUT
- Think of a time when you were honored for something. How did that make you feel? How did that honor impact your family? Now think of a time when you experienced shame for something. How did that make you feel? How did that shame impact your family?
- Hebrews 12:2 tells us that “for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, scorning the shame.” Read Luke 23:32-35; Matthew 27:27-31; Matthew 27:38-44; Mark 15:6-20; and Psalm 22:1,7-8,12-18. In what ways did Jesus experience shame? Now read Hebrews 2:9-11, Ephesians 1:18-23 and Philippians 2:5-11. What joy and honor did Jesus experience as a result of being willing to suffer shame for the kingdom of God?
- Have you ever faced shame or embarrassment for following God? Give an example. Are you willing to continue to face shame or embarrassment for following God? Why or why not?
- We live in a culture that is obsessed with personal comfort and convenience. What comforts and conveniences matter most to you? How have those preferences been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis?
- Read Hebrews 12:1. What are some ways in which our preference for comfort and convenience can entangle us and hinder us from doing something God may want us to do? What are some steps we can take to counteract those tendencies?
LIVE IT OUT
- How much time and effort are you putting into keeping yourself comfortable during this COVID-19 crisis? How does that compare with the time and effort you are putting into caring for the needs of others? Take a few moments to ask God to help you make any necessary adjustments.
- What personal comfort could you set aside this week in order to help someone else?