Andrea Nelson walked us through 1 Peter 3 last Saturday at CREATE’s Fireside Church. She shared a little of her story and how she has been hurt by someone else even when has done the right thing. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn't give us immediate benefit but, as Peter addresses in this chapter, it can be a witness to those around us.
Treating each other well
One part of our discussion focused on 1 Peter 3:1-7. We are called to be Christlike even when people are not treating us well, whether that is in a friendship, work situation or in the context of this chapter, a marriage.
The command for wives to submit to their husbands can be a tough one to discuss. Many women feel offended and put down by being referred to as the weaker vessel, called to submit to their husbands and told how to dress, but it is important to understand the context in which this section was written.
When Peter wrote this letter, the women in the city who usually wore elaborate jewelry, dress and gold-thread-braided hairstyles were the city prostitutes. Peter addresses the Christian women who were dressing according to that standard and called them instead to inner beauty instead of the erotic dress of the time.
There are accounts of early men divorcing their wives when they became Christians as it was seen as an act of insubordination. Peter wrote to tell them that by submitting to their husbands, even though it was hard, they could win their husbands to Christ and being treated as rebellious.
Women submitting to their husbands was the culturally normal thing to do, whereas husbands loving their wives and treating them well was very much not part of the culture. In this letter, Peter’s comment to the husbands would have been seen as more shocking.
Suffering for Good
Peter talks about suffering for righteousness’ sake and the corresponding blessing. He's not the only one who talks about suffering in the Christian life. James talks about the purpose of suffering – our faith is tested and we are refined to be more like Jesus.
When suffering, we can ask “What does this have to do with the kingdom of God?” If we aren’t prepared for suffering now, when it comes (when, not if) it will knock our feet right out from under us. As we talked about last week, faith in the little things builds faith for the bigger, harder things.
God gives us the command to suffer well. When He does, He doesn’t leave us hanging but also gives us the ability and the desire to suffer well.
Andrea brought an object for us to think about this week: a yellow thread in the shape of a heart with a safety pin through the bottom of it. The thread is yellow to remind us that we are lights to the world, even when our hearts are pierced.
Christian women in Peter’s day suffered in a way by submitting to non-believing husbands. Husbands too, by treating their wives with honor, were going against what culture had taught them. Imagine that – very rarely when you go against the grain do you get away with it without negative consequences.
Your Challenge this week
Any difficult thing we face could be considered a trial or suffering in some way. Suffering can be major or minor, but no matter what we have hope in God’s restoration. We don’t have to be afraid of suffering because we know that God has a purpose for it, and his plan is good. And being weak in God is stronger than being strong in ourselves.