Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Peter 4:14
“If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” – 1 Peter 4:14
One of the most difficult things to endure in life today is shame and humiliation. Think about a time in your life when someone embarrassed you in front of others. I can remember several times as a child when I was mocked or insulted for various reasons in the presence of others my age. When experiencing this, we want to go away and hide in order to fight the shame laid upon us. However, exposure to shame was a peculiarly harsh experience in a world where ‘losing face’ was taken much more seriously than in todays western culture. In Old Testament times those who stood by their faith in Yahweh (God) experienced this disgrace. David wrote in the sixty-ninth psalm the following. “Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Dishonor has covered my face. I have become estranged from my brothers And an alien to my mother’s sons. For zeal for Your house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me. When I wept in my soul with fasting, It became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. Those who sit in the gate talk about me, And I am the song of the drunkards.” Psalm 69:7-12. It is unknown as to the why this occurred, but his adversaries were filled with reproach for him and they strove to dishonor him.
What Peter is laying out here is the idea that if we are reviled because of our Christianity and our love and service to Christ, then we should not be embarrassed, but we should realize that we are blessed because the Spirit of God and His glory rests on us. For as the Spirit of God rested upon Christ, so does it rest upon those followers who are persecuted. It is not surprising that we as His followers should have to endure suffering and humiliation in the same way because of our allegiance to Him. There are many people who find the idea of God a silly and stupid belief. Many scientists believe saying this universe has a beginning and it was through an eternal God who created it and filled it with all that exists is foolish and idealistic.
Peter uses this same thought in an earlier verse. “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:14-16. He again states that those who suffer for the sake of Christ shall be blessed. We should not shy away from the truth, but speak it in good conscience, being completely truthful about the gospel as declared in His word. We should never be ashamed of it but should declare it with all confidence.
Jesus also addressed this in His Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12. He also refers to those insulted in the name of Christ as blessed. However, He goes further by stating if we are reproached; called evil and contemptuous names; and ridiculed because we are Christians, we will have a great reward awaiting us in heaven. The more someone suffers for Christ, the greater their reward.
Therefore, if we are shamed because of our relationship with Christ our Messiah, we should not back down and become quiet but should stand and proudly declare Jesus with no hesitation or humiliation. He is the creator of all there is and came here to die for our sins so we can be reconciled with the Father. This truth is nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary, it is because of Him that we, as Christians, are God’s children and will live with Him for all eternity, giving Him the worship, praise and honor He more than deserves. But those who are ashamed are given a powerful warning from Jesus. “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38. So, stand proud as a child of God in this defiled world. He gave His life for us, should we not be willing to give everything including our lives for Him?
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.