Excerpted. For your reading pleasure.
So I’ve been bouncing between reading 1 Peter and 2 Peter, in no particular order recently. I highly recommend taking the time to read chapters 4 and 5 now, then going back and reading chapter 1 to the end at your leisure.
(NIV version below)
1 Peter 4: 12 starts:
”Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”
The take home message? Suffering is a part of being a christian and it’s better to suffer while doing good than when doing bad.
Now what I was saying to you earlier about you needing to submit to God’s will just jumped out at me here again in chapter 5. Here’s what it says starting with verse 6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” And then verse 7 says Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. All of it, not some or a little or most. What you need to learn now, is how to do that, and it starts with stepping out in faith.
Whenever you talk about your problems you always say there is no one with you. You know what? From your attitude I think that’s right. I don’t think you’ve really, truly invited God INTO YOUR HEART, and gave it and the rest of you COMPLETELY to Him. That, in itself doesn’t bother me though. It takes time sometimes, what does bother me is that when you speak I don’t even get the sense that you’re trying. That you have any inkling of what it’s like to know that God is with you and will take care of you. You really have no idea, I think, what a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is.
Now I don’t know if that’s true, and there are only two entities who will ever be able to know that: You and God. But I think it’s something YOU need to seriously think about, whether or not you’re serious about becoming a child of God or not. You probably won’t be transformed overnight, and it certainly won’t be easy. Also I should point out that it doesn’t matter whether I think you’re a christian or not, this is between you and God and no one else. God is the only person that can judge you so if you know that you have given your life to God, don’t let anyone make you doubt that, not even or especially me. I can only see outwardly with my human eyes. God sees the heart.
So let’s say that you are a child of God and you’re suffering. 1 Peter 5: 8 starts:
”Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
There is a light at the end of the tunnel (to use an overused cliché) even when you can’t see it, God will see you throw and you will be stronger for it.
There will always be struggles because all the devil wants to do is attack us. Test us. Bring us down so that we fall away from God and never get anywhere. You say you’re a good person and that good things never happen to you, and you don’t deserve it? well guess what, you aren’t a good person. None of us are. Good people do not lie, they do not envy, have malice, selfishness or are lazy (even a little). (If you were geeky like me I’d joke that some asymptotically approach goodness) :-). Basically what I’m trying to say there is that even when we try to be good we never get all the way there. And if we’re bad then wouldn’t you expect bad things to happen in kind? Well maybe you’re not that bad, actually maybe you are in fact a saint. Jesus was a good person, he got strung up in the most humiliating way (of the time) possible by the folks he was trying to help. If it happened to Him, who was absolutely blameless (as far as a christian is concerned) would you expect better for yourself who isn’t faultless?
REGARDLESS of that God has promised to take care us if we SUBMIT to HIS will. Nothing that God tells us to do is something that will hurt us. It may be hard to do because it stops us from doing what we want, but it’s still the best option. Like I said before, following it won’t be easy, but the more you do it, the more you’ll see why it’s the best thing you could do in your whole life, and the easier it gets. Because the more you lean on God, the more he strengthens you. And then once we’re stronger we can be in a position to help others too.
We have a God who is easily able to lift us up. He may have other people who are strong enough come in and do that but so what? Just because someone isn’t related to you doesn’t mean that they can’t help. Only pride prevents us from accepting the help of others. The need for us to give the illusion that we’re OK and can deal with things on our own. Remember verse 6? “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” No one is completely OK, we ALL need help.
If you’re serious about following Christ, as I see, you have some things to work on. For me: compassion, for you: stubbornness and pride. Hopefully you read all this. You can cry, you can not cry, you can get angry or contemplative. Whatever you do, do it with God. I don’t care if you curse me out or get mad at me so long as at the end of the day you sit down and ask God, “Am I doing things right?” and “If I am, why don’t you help me?” Talk to God! That’s what he’s there for.
Read the bible too. Old and New testament. You say you don’t have time at night. MAKE TIME. Speaking to God is not just something you do. It should be a part of your life. The most important part. He should be the most important person in your life. And if He isn’t … you’re doing it wrong. Know why? Because if you put him first, then you will also have the best interest of everyone else at hand. And if you put him first you’ll have your best interest at hand too because He already takes care of that. And by best interest I don’t mean you’ll get nice shiny things. God cares about people, relationships. Materialism means nothing but that’s going into another subject for potentially another day.
I have a lot to do, and when I’m done with that it’ll probably be so late I have to go to bed. So when I came in I took 10 minutes and went to read the bible. It wasn’t even anything new, just something I read before. But one hour later I’m here writing this e-mail to you. Why? Because after doing that, God spoke to me, and I hope now He’s speaking to you. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to help me in my walk with Christ and I’m really the one who needs to get help. How would I ever have known if I didn’t take this time.
Also, I was eating when I was reading the bible. I didn’t need the
mood to be set. Just grabbed some potato bread and nutella and sat
down for a few minutes. Start small. Can’t do it when you get home? Do
it in the morning. Can’t do it in the morning when you get up? When
you’re on the train. Can’t do it on the train? When you get to work.
Or in the bathroom at work. Or on the way back from home.
If you can’t find time for God, then He isn’t really that important to you is He? I could go on about prayer and how to pray, but this is kinda long already so I’ll have to save that for another day. Also, forgive. Holding a grudge only holds in pain. You’ve got better things to do with your life. Forgive and move on. Everybody, including yourself :-)
Love you, later.