No Surprises Here

No Surprises Here
From the July 25th reading
What would you do if real persecution were to happen here? How would you respond when you suffer because of your faith?
READ: 1 Peter 4:12-19
1 Peter 4:12
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (NIV)
  • “Do not be surprised” – You should expect suffering
  • “Painful trial you are suffering” – trials and suffering for Jesus is painful
  • “As though something strange were happening to you” – Being a believer does not exclude us from trials and suffering. In fact it almost guarantees it.
  • If you suffer for His name you are blessed – V. 14
  • Do not be ashamed, but praise God because you bear His name – V. 16
  • Do not suffer as a criminal – V. 15
  • If we suffer – remain faithful and do good – V. 19


  • Expect suffering
  • Don’t question God’s love or His plan
  • Don’t complain or whine when you suffer for doing good.
  • Remain faithful and continue to do good!
Kayla Mueller of Prescott, Arizona was a humanitarian worker in Jordan. Kayla had volunteered with a group called Support to Life and quickly went to southern Turkey to aid Syrian refugees. The months that followed would bring her to Hatay, the southernmost province in Turkey. Then finally away from her assignment across the border. In August 2013, with a friend, she crossed into Syria itself, where she was soon snatched by kidnappers. She spent months in captivity as her family in Arizona and American officials struggled to find a way to free her.[i] Kayla didn’t expect that her faith would be tried and ultimately strengthened through an ordeal of capture, torture, and ultimate death. Held by an ISIS leader, she sheltered two other girls from additional harm. When a chance for escape came she decided to stay for fear of endangering the others who had escaped. About 18 months after the kidnapping, in February 2015, her captors would announce that she had died.[ii]
Men and women all across the globe are still suffering for their faith. This is not something that only happened in the dark ages, but it is occurring even today. You can find story after story of those who are being imprisoned or martyred for their faith in the news, and it seems to be increasing. In 2017 Open Doors ministry released a report that nearly 215 million Christians are experiencing “a high level of persecution”.[iii]
But yet, we in America are profoundly shocked whenever we suffer even the slightest for our faith. Someone questions our faith or mocks us because of our beliefs and we question God and we wonder “why me?”. A Western pastor asked a harassed Sri Lankan pastor, “Why are so many Christians persecuted for their faith today?”. With a twinkle in his eye, the pastor replied, “So that the rest of you will remember what real Christianity looks like.”[iv]
Paul said in Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” He was later beheaded for his faith in Rome. In fact, all of the disciples were violently killed for their faith, except for John. Still the message spread, and martyrdom has never stopped. Today 322 Christians are killed for their faith every month.[v]
Here in 1 Peter 4 we find Peter warning his readers about the coming of more intense persecution. He stresses the need for mental readiness: “Do not be surprised (amazed) at the painful trial you are suffering.”
Later in verse 13 we see him instructing them to “rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ.” One commentary says this, “Suffering for Christ’s sake should cause rejoicing because through suffering Christians further identify with Christ.” The author goes on to say, “The New Testament is clear that those who take part in the suffering of Christ also will take part in His glory, when it is revealed (apokalypsei; cf. 1 Peter 1:7; 5:1). Peter presented this truth as a cause for future hope and present rejoicing while enduring persecution.[vi]
What does this mean for us here in America? First, we need to pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith in other countries. Second, we need to be prepared for when we do suffer for our faith. And lastly, we need to find a way to “consider ourselves blessed” whenever someone insults us for the name of Christ.
Ask God to give you a heart for those who are being persecuted. Ask Him to prepare your heart for suffering for His name, because it will come. And pray for the faith and the strength to be able to “consider it all joy”.
Each week’s Monday Motivation is taken from the reading schedule found in the Life Journal. If you are ready for the next step in your discipleship, then order yours today or see me for a copy.
If you would like help in growing in your faith, or if you would like to know how to have faith in Him, then please contact us at (928)636-2949 or email me at
[i] The Republic, AZ; Aug. 13, 2016
[ii] Share Faith Magazing; 20 Christian Women Who Died as Martyrs; 1.20.2016
[iii] Billy / A Global Picture of Faith and Suffering / May 10, 2017
[iv] Billy / A Global Picture of Faith and Suffering / May 10, 2017
[v] Share Faith Magazing; 20 Christian Women Who Died as Martyrs; 1.20.2016
[vi] Raymer, R. M. (1985). 1 Peter. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 854). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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