Count Yourself Blessed - 1 Peter 4:12-19

Count Yourself Blessed

Sometimes, I will catch my youngest sneaking some candy from the candy drawer without asking. She has a complete look of surprise when she’s caught in the act. I know this may not be the same thing, but how often are we surprised when going through our own trials? Do we count ourselves blessed in these situations?

1 Peter 4:11-19
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Peter is closing out this chapter, or section, of his letter with the continued theme of perseverance.  But, here he asks the readers, “why are you surprised when going through trials”? “Why are you surprised when tested by God?” We as Christians should expect to undergo suffering because we are aligned with Christ. Also, God wants us to grow closer to Him and build a stronger relationship with Him, so He is going to test us. He will push us and try us. If we are going to suffer, wouldn’t we want it to be because we are called Christians and suffer in Christ?

When we are tested, we are reassured that the Holy Spirit is with us. Better yet, the Holy Spirit and its glory rest on us. If you think about it, it is the same Holy Spirit that presented itself as a dove when John the Baptist baptized Jesus. God was so incredibly proud of His Son Jesus, that he opened up the heavens. God is so proud of us, that he gives us the Holy Spirit, and when we suffer in the name of Jesus, we are even more blessed. Peter does have to clarify that all suffering isn’t in the name of Jesus. If we do evil, we are obligated to be punished. So, Peter encourages us to not engage in activities that will cause ourselves and others grief and harm. God brought the law into the world for a reason.

Peter then moves on to tell us about the judgment of God and that it will begin with His house. It will begin with us. We as Christians are the house of God. Even more, our hearts are to be a temple, a house of the Lord. So, it is time for the judgment to begin with us. He uses this judgment to purify us and, again, strengthen our relationship with Him. God will test us, through His holy fire, to purify our flaws. If this is what God is putting us through, then what kind of judgment will those who don’t follow His gospel have to go through? When we turn to Jesus, our road ahead is not going to be easy, but with each difficult step, the muscles of our faith grow stronger and are able to endure more than we could before.

Another way to look at it is more eschatological in nature. This fallen and sinful world’s time has come for judgment. God will judge His house first and call us to meet Jesus while those who rejected Him are made to endure severe suffering and grief for 7 years.

Therefore, we are to count ourselves blessed when we suffer in Christ. God is going to test us, it’s a guarantee. Following God is not going to be easy, but God places us in situations that will strengthen our faith so that we can handle more in His name. God loves us and poured out His grace on us, but He wants a genuine relationship with us. Evaluate your hearts and truly discover where your relationship with God is. If it’s not where it needs to be, then pray and read. Communicate with God, for He hears our prayers. Strengthen your knowledge of Him and what He wants in your life by digging into the Word.
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