Suffer for God Not for Vanity

1 Peter 3:17

17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (ESV)

We will all suffer in this world. The rich along with the poor, the old along with the young, the healthy along with the sick. Some have more suffering and some have less but we all have a portion of that cup. But what good is your suffering?

If you were to pay eighty thousand dollars for a car, would you be happy with an old rusty car on cinder blocks? Doesn’t paying a high price establish the expectation of a good return? Instead, you would expect a fast, sleek, well-oiled machine. In a like manner I ask, what do you expect to get in return for your suffering?

Spend your suffering wisely. Be a good steward of it in the same way you strive to be a good steward of your money. None of you I would expect, would pay such a sum for a rusty car, much less would any of you toss the money to the wind spending it for nothing at all. Yet this is how we spend much of our suffering. Do you not know that the suffering of the saints is good tender towards the redemption of souls? Do you not understand that your suffering can purchase a crown of glory not only for you, but for your family, friends, and neighbors? What is more, suffering can purchase the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ and buy interest in His kingdom, the kingdom he has put the down payment on with His suffering. Shall we not do likewise and pave the streets of that kingdom with our sufferings?

When we could buy such glorious things, we instead spend it on toys, on jobs, and on comforts. Men often complain because they have worked so hard at their job and they did not get the promotion they were expecting or even worse, they got fired. It is grievous indeed that men suffer such injustices and I do not wish to take away from such, but there is a still greater wrong: that these men are willing to waste their sufferings on such petty, worthless things when their sufferings could be buying priceless things. Men pray for health, for wealth, for family, for all sorts of things not because we would make those things slaves of Christ—using them up for His good and His kingdom—but we would put them all towards our own selfish interests.

These things should not be so! This is not conduct becoming bond-slaves of God most high.

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