1 Peter 3:13-15 (NLT):
 Now who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.  Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
Someone asked C.S. Lewis, “Why do the righteous suffer?” “Why not?” he replied. “They’re the only ones who should be able to take it.”
There is no doubt we live in a changing world, marked by terrorism, wars and rumors of war and the constant threat of nuclear, biological or chemical extinction. That’s the BAD NEWS!
But praise God, whatever fearful situation we might find ourselves in…there is the biblical unchangeableness of God Almighty that is comforting.
We must fight fear by anchoring our lives in this truth.
- Our MASTER never changes.
- Our MESSAGE never changes.
- And Our MISSION never changes.
What we need today is an anointing of the Holy Spirit to relate our unchanging gospel to the FEARFUL changing world we live in.
EMOTIONALLY BASED FEAR –
FEAR is such a strange EMOTION. One Bible Teacher/pastor refers to it as the EMOTION QUOTIENT where some “fears” have even been given names:
Aerophobia: FEAR of drafts.
Peladophobia: And no, that isn’t a city in Pennsylvania. It is a FEAR of baldness or fear of bald people.
Chaetophobia: FEAR of hairy people.
Phobophobia: FEAR of being afraid.
Experiencing FEAR is normal; however, to be paralyzed by fear is an indication that we question God’s ability to take care of us.
The SUFFERING is Inevitable (v. 13-14):
 Now who is there to hurt you if you are zealous followers of that which is good?  But even in case you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, [you are] blessed (happy, to be envied). Do not dread or be afraid of their threats, nor be disturbed [by their opposition]. (AMPLIFIED)
Peter’s question must have hung in the air for a long moment when the Christians first heard the letter read. They were no strangers to fear and suffering and suffered on occasions for doing good to others.
Peter is NOT addressing the spiritually immature believer here. He is addressing strong Christians who were “zealous” for the Lord.
Peter goes on to speak about the Christian attitude to suffering. It is well noted that man is involved in TWO KINDS of SUFFERING:
- Suffering in which we are a part of because of our humanity–human flesh: physical suffering, death, sorrow, distress of the mind, weariness and pain of the body.
- But there is also the suffering we may be involved with because of our Christian Faith. There may be unpopularity, persecution, sacrifice of principle and deliberate choosing of the difficult way, the necessary discipline attributed to Christian lifestyle.
And yet, the Christian way of living has a certain BLESSEDNESS which runs through it all. IT’S OUR HOPE!
THOSE SUFFERING PERSECUTION WILL BE BLESSED!
There is something about facing my fears that allows FAITH to be genuine, to shine!
What good is our FAITH if it is never tested (James 1:3, 4):
In a book entitled, “Cradles of Eminence”, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development produced a revealing study:
They said, “413 famous and exceptionally gifted people helped change the world. And the reasons, the authors spent years attempting to understand what produced such “greatness”; trying to find a common thread. Surprisingly, the most outstanding fact they found with virtually all of them, 392 of 413, had overcome the personal fears associated with great suffering or failure in order to become who they were. [See Footnote [i] ]
When a person focusses his/her mind and life on things of this world, those “things” can be taken away in a heartbeat.
You can be stricken with a disease, suffer a heart attack, have an accident, lose everything through an economic slump or stock market crash. A person of the world can suffer a crushing blow and FEAR destroys them–leaves them hopeless in life. But that SHOULD NOT BE the case of a TRUE BELIEVER. We are blessed! We have victory!!
FINDING VICTORY IN GOD’S PROMISES FROM FEAR –
Here is but a partial list of God’s PROMISES to us as believers in facing our worst FEARS:
- God will work out all things for good (Romans 8:28).
- God will provide all the necessities of life (Matthew 6:33).
- God will give you His glory in the face of insults (1 Peter 4:14).
- The life of Christ Jesus is best manifested through us in fear and suffering (2 Corinthians 4:11).
- God provides GREAT rewards for those who stand in fear and suffering (Matthew 5:11-12).
- God will preserve us and take us to Heaven as we stand in Him against our fears and suffering (2 Timothy 4:8).
So, what do Christians fear about being a “Christian”?
— SEE PART TWO–
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES:
Footnote [I] – “Cradles of Eminence” by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development and a Book by Mildred George Goertzel & Victor Goertzel–www.davidsongifted.org/
Photo: Google Image Search.
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible, except where noted in the text.