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Small Group Lesson:

Suffering in the Christian life is normal.  

Read 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  

Q: When bad things happen, are you ever been tempted to think that God must be angry with you or that you must have done something wrong? How should this verse change our thinking?  

When we experience suffering, 1 Peter teaches us to do three things:  

1. Trust God  

Read 1 Peter 2:23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.  

Q: How would trusting God as judge change the way you experience persecution?  

2. Follow Christ’s Example  

Read 1 Peter 2:21-25 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.  

Q: Look at verse 23. When you have experienced persecution or social pressure for being a Christian, have you ever been tempted to revile or threaten or return hatred for hatred? How does Christ’s example change the way we suffer?  

3. Rejoice  

How could Christians rejoice in suffering? Read the next three passages to find out.  

Read 1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  

Read 1 Peter 2:19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.  

Read 1 Peter 4:13-14 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  

Discuss: Based on these passages, how could Christians rejoice in suffering?