Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21, 2011 … Evaluating Our Suffering

Passage of the Day: 1st Peter 4: 15 [NIV] … 12 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.

1st Peter 4: 15 [NASB]:
Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; …

1st Peter 4: 15 [KJV]:But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.

My Journal for Today: Today I’ve listed three versions of today’s verse (1st Peter 4: 15), embedded in the passage we have been discussing the past days from 1st Peter 4. And here we read Peter, by God’s inspiration, helping believers to see that we have many troubles or trials in this life; but we don’t need to be creating them on our own by doing unlawful, sinful, or meddlesome things.

Certainly we know that if we create our own problems by doing such things as breaking the law (e.g., murder or theft), we can expect that the governments of the world, instituted by God (see Romans 13), would likely be a big part of our “troubles” or circumstances if they had to prosecute us for our unlawfulness; and most certainly if that were our lot in life, we be in a barrel of troubles. But the latter phrase in 1st Peter 4: 15 indicates that we can also “shoot ourselves in the foot” in this life by becoming “busybodies” or “troublesome meddlers” in the affairs of others as well (see the NASB or KJV versions).

Of course, God’s word does encourage our concern and HEALTHY involvement in the lives of others. For example, Paul exhorts Christians to think of more than their own affairs and to reach out to help others in Phil. 2: 3 – 4

SCRIPTURE: Phil. 2: 3 - 4 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

However, Paul is not saying here to become “troublesome meddlers” in the lives of others, … to what the Greek term, “allotriepiskopos {pr. - al-lot-ree-ep-is'-kop-os}” in today’s verse refers. Actually either of the KJV or the NASB renderings is, in my estimation, more accurate than the NIV’s simple translation of “meddler.” The Greek term above really means someone who creates problems by making themselves as a supervisor or “controller” in the affairs of others. Paul actually joined Peter in this exhortation of avoidance in hindering the lives of others in 1st Thes. 4: 11

SCRIPTURE: 1st Thes. 4: 11Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, …

Both Peter and Paul, therefore, were saying that we, as Christians, must do all we can to avoid creating our own trials or troubles in life by doing things which are illegal, foolish, and/or meddlesome, especially where we are trying to control the affairs of others. In this regard, especially in the light of Christians becoming involved in civil disobedience, we must be very sure that our actions, in the Name of Christ, are truly within God’s will and purpose and not just done to make the lives of non-believers troublesome.

My Prayer Today: Let me be a helper, Lord … and not a hinderer. Amen

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