Many people don’t realize that we are given detailed instructions in the Scriptures on how to deal with suffering. I have come to realize this, when I read through the book of 1 Peter. His advice is so practical; we can all benefit from it. Suffering in any form, even in the form of being slandered by others, is something that invariably happens to all of us. It is part of life and part of our training in righteousness.
Trials come upon us to test us and to strengthen our faith, therefor we are to rejoice in these difficult times. It sounds easier than it is…
1 Peter 1:6â€“7
6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Yâ€™Shua Messiah;
1 Peter 4:12
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
We are YHVH’s own possession, His peculiar treasure (Ex 19:5-6). However, even though He has chosen us to be this spec
ial possession to Him , we need refinement in order to become set apart. That is where the testing comes in. How are we to conduct ourselves during this time of testing? How do we ensure we do not fail the test?
Keep on rejoicing and do what is right
1 Peter 4:13
13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Messiah, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
Peter repeats that we are to rejoice, because when we suffer we partake in Y’Shua’s suffering, but he adds to this…
1 Peter 4:19
19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of Elohim shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
1 Peter 2:15
15 For such is the will of Elohim that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
He goes further to say that when we suffer according to YHVHâ€™s will we are to entrust our souls to Him and do what is right. By doing what is right, we may silence the ignorance of foolish men. We need to do what is right in order not to fail the test.
What is “doing what is right“? We know that suffering of any kind brings out what is deep within us. It exposes our very being, our hearts are revealed when we suffer, our true nature. So it would seem to me that doing what is right does not come naturally, but is a choice, a decision you have to make. Do you make the right decisions when you suffer? I know I don’t always…
People observe our behavior, not only when we are suffering, but especially when we are suffering. How do we conduct ourselves? Is our behavior a testimony of Who we follow or are we taking our Fatherâ€™s name in vain with our wrong behavior?
1 Peter 2:12
12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify Elohim in the day of visitation.
Even if we are slandered, we are to continue in our good deeds, doing what is right, and it will be seen by others, and it will be a testimony to them.
How do we do what is right?
How do we ensure we do what is right when we suffer? Peter gave us some sound advice. Let’s see what he said.
1 Peter 1:13â€“17
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Y’Shua Messiah. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, â€œYou shall be holy, for I am holy.â€ 17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each oneâ€™s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
Here is what we need to do:
Prepare your minds for action
How do you prepare your mind for action? How do you prepare your mind if you are amidst difficult times? Here is what we are to do!
14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Elohim.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of Elohim is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
To be conformed to the world would be doing what the world would do. The world would want justice by their own hands, or revenge, but we are taught to transform our minds.
Paul gives some more advice in the letter to the Ephesians:
22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of Elohim has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. 25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Keep sober in spirit
Peter admonishes us three times to keep sober in spirit. What does it mean to be sober in spirit?
1 Peter 4:7
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
1 Peter 5:8â€“10
8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 10After you have suffered for a little while, the Elohim of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory
in Messiah, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
We are taught to keep sober in spirit for the purpose of prayer and in order to be alert to the schemes of satan. When we are sober in spirit we are in control of our mind and we prayerfully consider what we need to do.
Fix your hope completely on the grace
We are not to despair! We are to have a clear hope for future reward and thus conduct ourselves in fear for we will be judged according to our works.
1 Peter 1:17
17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each oneâ€™s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
“Do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance.” It is so easy to do things the way we have always done it, but we are taught here not to go back to those ways, but are to be obedient to YHVH’s Word.
This will ensure that we behave in a set apart manner.
Be holy in all your behaviour
What is holiness?
Holiness is set apartness. We are to conduct ourselves in a set apart manner. Doing what we do according to YHVH’s instructions is set apartness. He gave us His instructions in order to make us set apart, for He Himself is set apart.
Conduct yourself in fear of YHVH
If we consider what we want to do in the light of conducting ourselves in fear of YHVH, we would most certainly do things differently. If we conduct ourselves in fear of YHVH, we will not succumb to the lusts of the flesh. For it is the lusts of the flesh that causes us to sin.
Furthermore, we are to love one another, for love covers a multitude of sin.
Love one another
I do not need to expand on this, we are told many times to love one another. This love is to be a sincere love from the heart.
1 Peter 1:22
22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
1 Peter 4:8
8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
How do we love each other?
1 Peter 2:1â€“2
1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
When we do what is right, we glorify YHVH
When we suffer for doing what is right and we behave right in that situation, we glorify YHVH.
1 Peter 2:19â€“20
19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward Elohim a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with Elohim.
1 Peter 3:16â€“17
16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Messiah will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if Elohim should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.
Yâ€™Shua our example
Y’Shua provides an excellent example for us. He suffered innocently on our behalf and provided us an excellent example of how we are to conduct ourselves when we suffer for the sake of righteousness.
1 Peter 2:21â€“23
21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Messiah also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
1 Peter 3:8â€“9
8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
What are we to do when we are faced with the unpleasant reality of being slandered for example, sometimes even by people you love and respect, sometimes by your own family or a best friend?
- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (352). New York: United Bible Societies.
- Cabal Ted. (2003). Holy. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler, Ed.) (772). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.