Focal Passage: 1 Peter 4:12-19
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
It was unbearably warm in that small, one-room church building. I felt weary and tired from very little rest the night before. My stomach was in knots from unfamiliar food and spices. I felt grumpy and wanted to dwell in it … this was the day that I was responsible for training the South Asian Christians on how to share the gospel. Yet my attitude that morning reflected little of the Good News of great joy that was for all the people (Luke 2:10). The local missionary opened our training session by playing a simple song on his guitar. And immediately I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit in regards to my sinful attitude and ungratefulness.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; I will be glad and rejoice in it. This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made.”
It was a new day full of God’s mercies. It was a day made for the sole purpose of bringing Him glory. In my weakness, I had a choice: to wallow in self-pity or to rejoice in the day that belonged to Him. I chose the latter and He gave me the strength to joyfully teach the gospel. In our passage in 1 Peter 4:12-19, Peter gives the early believers an imperative, or command, in verse 13 and says, “[You] rejoice.”
Rejoice in the midst of suffering. In verse 14, he shares that those who suffer and go through trials because of the name of Christ are blessed. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:10). Finally, he encourages those who are being persecuted to persevere because their suffering brings praise and glory to God.
How have you faced suffering, trials or persecution for your faith? Have you been mocked for being a Christian? What is your response? Do you respond with anger, feistiness or passive resignation? Do you respond with self-pity when things get tough? Remember Peter’s imperative, “[You] rejoice.” What does that look like in your life this week? How can you choose joy in the midst of life’s difficulties?