SUFFERING AND GLORY
Lord, thank You for the assurance that You know my “going out and coming in.”
Read 1 Peter 4:12–19
Suffering for Being a Christian
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[a]
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
a 1 Peter 4:18 Prov. 11:31 (see Septuagint)
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink about the meaning of Peter’s words “rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ” (13).
Peter has fairly consistently stretched our minds and our hearts as we read through this letter.
Today’s passage is no different. He is specifically dealing with suffering for being a Christian. The forms this may take will be many and varied around the world. Why should we not be surprised by suffering (Mark 14:27)? Is it really possible to rejoice in suffering?
Peter takes us again to the deep and profound truth that we share in the sufferings of Christ and this is an honor in which we should rejoice (13). His reasoning is rooted in God’s glory being revealed. When our suffering comes from being named with Christ, then a glimpse of his glory is revealed in us. The curses that are hurled at us, under the power of God, are turned to blessings. Wow!
We see this truth worked out through the Acts of the Apostles. Today, the most humbling testimonies I have heard describing this are from Muslim-background believers. To be named as a follower of Jesus Christ usually means that they are evicted from their families. Indeed some have lost their lives because they “bear that name” (16). The courage, conviction, and joy of many of our brothers and sisters is deeply moving and inspirational.
In what ways have you seen Christians “insulted” because of the name of Christ? In what ways are we blessed?
Lord Jesus, help me to grow in my zeal for Your glory to be displayed in my life.