1 Peterby David Burge
Loyalty, steadfastness, fortitude, grit, resilience, tenderness-such virtues might come to mind when watching an elderly man care for his wife of 50 years who now suffers dementia; a mother still dressing and feeding her 35-year-old son born with a severe disability; or a Christian choosing to be imprisoned, being burnt at the stake, or being wrapped in animal skins and fed to lions by the Romans out of sheer loyalty to Jesus. Faithfulness can be extraordinary to watch, and God calls us to such a life in 1 Peter 1:6-9.
As those who ″greatly rejoice″ in the undeserved mercy, promises, and protection of God (vv. 3-6), Christians shielded by God's power develop steadfastness, loyalty, and faithfulness under the testing fires of ″all kinds of trials″ (v. 6).
Remarkably, rejoicing occurs simultaneously with suffering grief (v. 6). We might be tempted to see Christian suffering as meaningless-or worse, a reason to doubt God's care for us. But Peter unveils the good that God is doing through it. In Jesus' life, God brought good out of evil. So what is the good that God achieves through our suffering?
Verse 7 tells us that suffering allows us to see that our faith in Jesus is genuine. A fair-weather friend is one who deserts others when things get uncomfortable, but a genuine friend is one who does not. Even in persecution or hardship, we trust Jesus as Lord. In this way, Christians see something supernatural taking place in our lives-we notice a growing and even surprising resolve given by God to hold fast to Jesus even when it really hurts.
In his letter, Peter urges us to prioritise the imperishable over the perishable. Our refined and tested faith is more resilient than even gold ″refined by fire″ (v. 7). When we notice how our faith bears costs and refuses to forsake Jesus year after year, we see the authenticity of our faith. Praise God, this is the very faith that joins us to the future blessings of the ″praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed″ (v. 7).
God has transformed us from being those disinterested in the Lord Jesus, to being those who, miraculously, love a Saviour we've never seen. He transforms us like He transformed Peter-from a fair-weather friend to a committed, faith-demonstrating, trial-enduring disciple.
Are we to be pitied in our trials? Hardly! For Jesus not only gives us faith and resilience, but also fills us ″with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls″ (v. 9).
While we aren't called to seek suffering, we need not fear it, either. Suffering for Christ provides a meaningful opportunity-and sometimes a daunting arena-to demonstrate our loyalty to Jesus and to show Him that we love Him.
What opportunities do you have today to show Jesus that you love Him?
In the trials you endure for following Jesus, God wants you to know that these are signs of His saving work, which join you to your eternal inheritance. What could you pray in response to this?