All I have said to you in my letters over the last three days is to help you understand what you are going through. I do not want you to be surprised at these fiery trials, as if something strange is happening to you. It’s not strange, it is to be expected!
Now your former friends, they are the ones who should be surprised. They were surprised when you no longer partied with them and participated in destructive behaviors. Their reaction was to slander you. But you have had enough of all the evil things your godless friends enjoy – the immorality and lust, the feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, as well as the worship of idols. You are tired of chasing after your own desires. Now you are anxious to do the will of God.
So do just that! Chase after God’s will! Everything God has called you to do, all the spiritual gifts He has given you, do it with all the strength and the energy God supplies you with. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.
The end of the world is coming soon, when all people will have to face God’s judgment. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Did you hear that? Earnest and disciplined – do those words describe your prayer life? Most importantly, continue to show deep love for each other, FOR LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
If you think your former friends have been rough on you, watch out for your great enemy – the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, just looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. You are not the only one going through a hard time. Your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of sufferings you are.
So don’t be surprised , instead be very glad – glad for these trials that make you partners with Christ in his suffering. One day you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory revealed to all the world. In His kindness, God has called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So, after you have suffered a little while, He will RESTORE, SUPPORT, and STRENGTHEN you and He will place you on a firm foundation. All power to Him forever! Amen.
So don’t be ashamed to suffer for being a Christian. Instead, praise God for the PRIVILEGE of being called by His name! Be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or praying into other people’s affairs. For the time will come for judgment, and it must begin with us – God’s household.
So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you (1 Peter 4:19).
And now, for those of you who are leaders in the Church, I have these words for you. Take care of the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly – not wondering how you can personally gain from your work, but simply because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord over the people assigned to your care but, as their shepherd, lead them by your own great example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor. So humble yourself under the mighty power of God. Don’t try to lift yourself up, but wait for God who will lift you up in honor at the right time.
I know it hasn’t been easy, that is why I am writing to you. I want to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (5:7).
Greet each other will Christian love.
Peace out (or Peace be with all of you who are in Christ– 5:14),
(1 Peter 4:3-5:14)