Sunday, January 3, 2021

1 Peter 4:12-19

This Week’s Main Idea:

Choose joy even in life’s difficulties


What ideas or images come to mind when you hear the word joy?


Surprises are often nice and can even be fun—when they’re pleasant. But then there are those “other” surprises: The routine annual checkup turned into, “We need to run some more tests.” The pay raise you were expecting turned into a pink slip and severance package. The enthusiasm of doing missions overseas turned into hostility against you and the church you were helping. A global pandemic changes your plans to see you family over the holiday. Sometimes life’s little surprises are irritating, aggravating, and worse. Where’s the joy in that?

Difficulties, suffering, and persecution may seem like big obstacles to joy, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Suffering and difficulties are going to happen. Though we can never fully prepare for the impact that pain and suffering will have on us when they come, we can be sure that they are coming … and that God can impart joy to us in the midst of those tough times. The Book of 1 Peter shows us that we are not alone in our hurt and trials. God Himself knows what suffering is like. Jesus—God in the flesh—suffered. Beyond that, the Bible makes it clear that God is with us as we face hardships.

Read 1 Peter 4:12-13
  • When have you recently felt joyful?
  • What does it look like to be joyful even when you don’t feel like it?
Read 1 Peter 4:14
  • When have you been discredited or ridiculed because of your faith?
  • How do you typically respond in such situations?
Read 1 Peter 4:15-19
  • Do you struggle with meddlers and murderers being on the same list? Explain.
  • In light of these verses, how do we choose joy?
  • How would you summarize the differences between joy and happiness?
  • How has God used suffering and trials to deepen your joy?
  • What steps can you take now that will empower you to choose joy in future difficulties?
  • How might we as a group help each other find joy in Christ in the midst of trials?
Suggested prayer:

Thank you, God, for making it possible to choose joy even in difficult times. Please give me strength to not only endure difficult situations in the weeks to come, but also to reflect the joy of Christ.

Other Scriptures to Engage with this week:

Proverbs 17:22, Romans 15:8-13, James 1:2-18, John 16:16-24, Psalm 16.