Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Peter 4:16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
This, and the verse before it, deals with suffering. In the verse just before this we read, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;” 1 Peter 4:15. We must make sure that we do not suffer because of something we did wrong. He mentions several things in the verse such as murder or thievery which are illegal acts or meddling in the affairs of others. In these things we should expect to suffer because we did wrong. In the above, if we stole something that belonged to someone else, or we took the life of someone and thus denied them their future with family and friends or meddled in the affairs of another which causes them trouble, then we should expect to pay the penalty of what we have done.
However, as our focus verse states, “but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” 1 Peter 4:16. We should not be ashamed when we suffer for the sake of Christ. On the contrary, we are to rejoice. “but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” 1 Peter 4:13. In other words, if we share in the same type of suffering Christ endured and if it was inflicted on us for the same reasons. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians said the following, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” Colossians 1:24. What Paul is saying is that the leading desire of his soul was to be just like Christ; alike in moral character and in His suffering, as well as in Christ’s final destiny. In fact, in his second letter to the church in Corinth he even boasts in his suffering. “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 11:24-30.
Are we willing to suffer for the cause of Christ? If someone ridicules us because of our faith and belief in Jesus and what He has done for us, will we be ashamed? If we are arrested and demanded to deny Christ in exchange for our release, will we? If we were threatened with death if we continue to believe in and spread the good news of Christ to the world, would we back away? Or will we stand strong and take whatever comes our way. This is a hard question, but it was required of His disciples back in the first century and it is also required of us in our time as well. We are seeing persecution of Christians and the church throughout the world increasing because of Christ. It is important that we stand firm in our belief and help our brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same? For when we do, we show the reality of our Christian walk. It declares we have no doubt that the Son of God came down from heaven in the form of a man and gave His life to pay the penalty for our sins. Knowing this if we are ashamed of our Christian walk, or desire to save our pride and lives rather than stand up for Christ, then we truly do not love Him or have accepted Him. He suffered incredibly in this world in order to provide salvation to us all. We should therefore be willing to suffer to bring this eternal message to a world that needs to hear it, and ultimately bring glory to God. It is the least we can do.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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