1 Pet 4:12-16 “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
“When His glory is revealed” – this is what I want to talk about. How is His glory revealed? What does that look like exactly? We all know that there are many benefits to suffering such as; it fosters endurance, patience, strength etc. But I want to get specific and talk about how His glory is manifested when we are in a trial; namely, in dealing with other people. I want to take you through a step-by-step process of a situation that happened to me recently and show exactly at what point His glory enters into it. This is a basic outline that can be applied to any situation when dealing with irate people. [I’ll put my thought process in blue brackets].
There was an article I read online, where the poster complained of something that someone did to him. It was more of a moral issue than a civil one. He was furious and wanted to fight back and possibly get the authorities involved. He also said he was so discouraged, that he was thinking of dissolving his ministry.
I gave him a couple of verses that basically said for him to let it go and do not retaliate.
[No real damage was done – this other person had copied an article about Jesus that the original poster had written and passed it off as his own. He plagiarized. I wanted to get the person I was talking with to start thinking of the bigger picture – to not focus on the wrong that was done to him but rather to think of how a good message was passed on to another audience].
I gave a scripture reference of Philippians 1:15-18. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
[I also don’t want to see his blog dissolve over something which someone else did, because that’s what the evil one wants]
This person answered back and was furious with me. He sent two emails filled with sharp insults attacking my character, my spirituality, my intellect – everything.
Here is Where the Battle Begins – The War Between the Flesh and the Spirit
My initial reaction: ANGER, of course. I’m only human, right? The ball was in my court. At this point I had a choice to make – do I give into this anger (and my flesh) and retaliate, or do I choose to react in another way?
[I thought about the run-in this person had previously with my husband, where he reacted viciously towards my husband (as he did with me), and this fueled my anger also. I thought about how we tried explaining bible verses to him, where to obey the Scripture would have required him to deny his flesh, but he wouldn’t listen – which fueled my anger even more]
[Then I thought to myself that I should just let this guy have it and unload all barrels on him. The last time I kept silent, I was now going to speak].
[Then I started formulating exactly what I was going to say and was trying to think of a really good introduction; one that would have maximum affect on him. You know, causing him to “go ape”].
[On the other hand, this sort of reaction would be willful rebellion against the Father and I didn’t want that. So I said a quick prayer, asking Yahweh to get rid of this anger in me, but I still kept thinking about what I was going to say. So while I was thinking, I surfed some more online.]
I’m still warring with my flesh, not having the power to fight my flesh so I gave the situation over to Yahweh for Him to handle. I stopped long enough to recognize how evil I was being and then decided that I needed help and prayed.
So I continued to surf.
[I started thinking about how angry this person was; not just now but before, when he lashed out at my husband. I thought about how these probably weren’t isolated events – that carrying this anger was a lifestyle for him. I thought about how he magnified everything said to him, how he seems to be in a constant state of anger, and how he apparently lacks the joy that comes with knowing Yeshua intimately. I remembered that our war is not with flesh and blood, but with rulers and principalities of darkness. (Eph 6:12) Then I thought that he is probably listening to these dark rulers because he is in bondage to them]
Then My Heart Began to Change – The Holy Spirit Begins to Work on Me
After thinking on these things, my heart began to change and the anger was gone completely. Then I was compelled to pray for him. I prayed for mercy for him, for his forgiveness, that he would draw nearer to Yahweh and follow Him and know His love and Joy. This was a long, heartfelt prayer for him because at this point, I felt bad because of the state he was in. It was at this point that I decided that I wasn’t going to respond at all. I was just going to let it all go and let him have the last word.
Holy Spirit Working Stronger
So I continued surfing, trying to forget everything. A few minutes later, I found myself completely distraught over this person. I didn’t see him as an ornery man anymore but as a child in chains, cold and naked, and not being aware of it. I wanted to hug him and rock him like you would a little child and tell him ‘everything will be alright.’ (btw I’m NOT a huggy kind of person because I don’t like anyone stealing my air) I had an overwhelming sense of sadness for him and I think I may have gotten a glimpse of God’s love towards him. Perhaps I saw, in part, what God sees in us when He shows us His mercy each day.
God’s Glory Manifested
Now I wanted to DO something to help this guy (showing my faith by my works or actions). I knew that technically, I did nothing wrong in the Father’s eyes, but this person perceived that I did and so I humbled myself and apologized for my part in causing him anger. I explained as best as I could where I was coming from, I acknowledged his anger and possible pain, and tried to encourage him as best as I could, which diffused this persons’ anger. He then apologized, we exchanged several more friendly emails and everything seems to be alright.
After this, I felt a deep joy inside. Not because of our reconciliation. Not the kind of joy life may bring every day but a deep, abiding joy that I knew was directly connected with the Father. This joy comes from obedience; in this case when I denied my flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit. All I could do was praise Yahweh!
Yahweh’s glory is manifested when you actually DO something that shows His character. The work of the Holy Spirit begins as He first changes your heart (if you allow Him to do that by NOT reacting quickly to a bad situation), then causing you to act.
Quick Mention: How is God Glorified in our Suffering?
By how we react to that suffering. By being like Job and not sinning. By doing the opposite of what the world expects. When you hear on the news of a person forgiving a criminal who has just murdered their entire family, the world wonders at this and they know that it is the power of Yahweh enabling this person to react this way. And THIS is how God is glorified through our suffering. They know it is not natural to forgive. They know that person must have had Divine help.
So the next time you’re in a situation where you are tested, remember to stop and pray. Do not say or do anything that causes you to sin. Wait for the Spirit to work in you before you react. Denying the flesh is one of the hardest things to do on our own, but, with the Holy Spirit’s help you can do this, and, the blessings are wonderful!