Passive Discipline – Gospel in Life

Passive Discipline

Tim Keller |  January 21, 1990

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  • Glorification
  • Suffering
1 Peter 1:1-9
RS 207-09


Nobody grows without trouble. You can plan to obey this week, but you can’t plan to suffer. Suffering is one of the main ways in which Jesus Christ gives you what you really want, and that is becoming the person you want to be.

How you respond to the troubles in your life will go a long way toward whether or not you ever develop courage, patience, compassion, or humility. How can you make sure you don’t waste your sorrows?

1 Peter 1:1–9

When we look at the theme of suffering, we see it’s linked to glory, just as in the Christian journey where we often face hardships. Suffering, unlike obedience, is not something we choose but something we endure. It doesn’t lead us into darkness but can take us to glory, just as it did for Jesus. It’s important not just to know this but to live it out, using our pains in a positive way and following three key ideas that help us navigate through suffering.

1. Christians can feel deep sadness or grief

It’s important to know that Christians can feel both joy and sadness at the same time. This goes against the false idea that Christians should only feel joy and never suffer. When we become Christians, our hearts change, letting us feel more deeply the pain and wickedness in the world. This sadness can actually help us grow. Remembering that Christians have Jesus Christ’s divine nature within them, we can find happiness and become stronger through difficulties. True Christianity isn’t about hiding our doubts and sadness, but about connecting with God.

2. Christians go through hard times and suffering

John Newton’s letter tells us that suffering can show us our weaknesses and prepare us for future hardships. It suggests that God might use suffering to prevent bigger problems. Newton also points out how suffering can help us develop empathy and better help others.

3. You need to deal with hardships when they happen

God’s teachings are chances for us to grow, especially during times of suffering, which are short compared to eternity. It’s crucial to keep following God’s laws, staying connected with others, praying, and helping out, as not doing these things can hurt our spirits. Believing in God’s ultimate control, which is always guided by love, and knowing that everything in our lives is necessary, can shape us to be more like Jesus.



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