1 Peter 1:6-7, Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
In Part 3 of this “heaviness” discussion, I talked about these “manifold trials” we experience as Christians—that facing trials in a variety of colours, shapes, and forms is normal for the Christian life. We should never be surprised when we experience such abundant trials. “In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). According to the New Testament Scriptures, it is practically a law that the deeper our relationship with Christ develops, the more likely we are to face troubles in this world. Why is that? Well, examine His character. He did no evil and there was no guile found on His mouth. He spent His time healing people, performing other miracles, preaching to the lame and the poor, and socialising with ragamuffins; yet look at the opposition and trials He had to face and endure. And why? Because of whom He is. The world hates Christ and it therefore hates Christians because such holy living condemns it (see John 7:7).
Peter explains this a little further by writing: “For there has already been enough time spent in doing the will of the pagans: carrying on in unrestrained behaviour, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry. In regard to this, they are surprised that you don’t plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation—and they slander you” (1 Peter 4:3-4). When Christians indefatigably refuse to conform to the ways of the world, the people of the world become surprised—indeed angry—and slander us because we refuse to accept their worldly, ungodly ways and join them in their ungodliness. (Opposing homosexuality is a prime example, who sue Christian businesses into poverty when they obey God rather than man.) So, never be surprised when you suffer because persecution and suffering are inevitable for anyone who desires to live a godly life. But never fear, for “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). And also remember that although you suffer, God promises to help us endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Stay tuned for next time when I start discussing specifics for why we suffer.