I grew up hearing a message that suffering was good. It made you more spiritual. Jesus suffered, and I needed to suffer just like Him because it would bring Him glory.
Suffering for Jesus was a big deal. What I didn’t know is that the Bible doesn’t say it like I learned it.
Peter talks about suffering and trials and having the strength to endure them in 1Peter. He was writing to a persecuted church. The suffering these people were experiencing was connected to being persecuted because of their belief in Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God who came in the flesh and was resurrected.
He says about suffering this type of trial is that it is to be expected because the world persecuted Jesus. Jesus already told us this is the kind of treatment we would get– the world would hate us because it first hated Him.
Many of those who heard Peter’s words would die for their beliefs. Some still do. Even Peter did. Persecution came in waves during the early church. Those who survived, and even those who didn’t, had proven their faith in Jesus was unshakable.
Persecution was not the type of suffering I was taught I had to endure. It was more about life’s trials. Sickness was definitely in this category. Peter, however, had different words for these kinds of trials. He warned us that we have an enemy and that we are to resist him and whatever he tries to push upon us.
“Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset–rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.” (1Peter 5:8-9 AMP)
Pathēma is the word used for suffering or afflictions and it also means influence and emotion. Believers are targeted the same way everywhere. Satan is hoping we are influenced by his threats.
Peter says about sickness that by Jesus’ stripes, His suffering, you were healed. He was quoting Isaiah 53:5. “... He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His wounds we ourselves are healed.” (LITV) But he changed the tense of the verb from are to were.
When he wrote the verse he changed the tense because it–the healing–was accomplished. “…who ‘Himself carried up in His body our sins’ onto the tree; that dying to sins, we might live to righteousness, of whom ‘by His wound you were healed [iaomai: made whole].’” (1 Peter 2:24 LITV) Remember, Jesus treated sin and sickness the same: He healed and removed them.
For this kind of sickness type of suffering, and I think any kind, Peter was telling us to stand and to stand firmly in opposition. In 2 Peter 1:3-4 he tells us that our knowledge of God’s promises is the path by which we live in the divine nature. It would help us to meditate on these verses.
I heard Tim Born give a message on James 1:17 (Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above) that is so simple you have to try to mistunderstand it. He said, "God is good. The devil is bad. If something is good, it is from God. If it is bad, it is from the devil."
Here are 6 keys to standing on God's Promises.
- Receive what Jesus has already done for you. (You are saved, healed and delivered.)
- Meditate on His promises to you.
- Speak the promises outloud because faith comes by hearing.
- Be of ONE opinion (James 1:8) not considering or dwelling on defeat.
- Stand. Put your weight on God's word, His promises.
- Remain in this place of standing.
This week I want to share with you the testimony of a man who experienced a dramatic healing. It amazed and inspired me, and I hope it does the same for you. Jesus is still the God who heals today. Click here to listen to his story.
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Image Alex Green courtesy of Unsplash
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