NOT ASHAMED TO SUFFER

1Pe 4:15-16.  “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

I am thankful to say that I have never taken another’s life or stolen another man’s goods. I have never been what the world would call an evildoer, and I try to not meddle in other men’s affairs. Probably most of you could say the same things about yourselves. I’m sure many of those that Peter was writing to might have thought the same things. As human beings, we tend to think in terms of being law-abiding when we read these things. But what about being Christ-abiding?

Have you ever hated a brother? The scripture says if we hate a brother, we are murderers (1Jn 3:15). If we are murderers in this sense, then we walk in darkness. If we walk in darkness, then we are not abiding in Jesus. Jesus also told us if we thought we could enter into His kingdom by any way other than Him, we are thieves and robbers (Jn 3:1). When we consider that the word “evil” is defined in previous passages as a worthless act, have we ever been evildoers? If we have ever begun a statement with “I probably shouldn’t say this, but…,” we are guilty of being meddlesome. As Christians, we are to walk according to the life of Christ in us. That means it is not always enough to simply be law-abiding.

We should not suppose that walking as a Christian means we will avoid suffering as though we were evildoers. There are many in this world who consider following Jesus to be worthless, if not downright criminal. The world still despises His teaching, and we may be called on to suffer for abiding in Him. But Peter says we should not be ashamed when we suffer for being Christians. While it is shameful to be a murderer, thief, evildoer, or busybody, there is no shame in truly being a Christian.

If we suffer for being a Christian, then we should glorify God for this. As stated in previous posts, when we are Christ-abiding we rejoice in being counted worthy to bear stripes in His name. In spite of what the world thinks, there is no shame in loving our brothers (even when they are our enemies).  There is no dishonor in giving Jesus all the honor due the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No act is worthless (evil) if the Holy Spirit is our guide. We can pray for men without being meddlesome in their affairs.

May God give us the courage to proclaim Jesus as the only way of salvation; may we love as He loves; may we know the fellowship of His suffering so we can know the glory of His victory! May we know, and not be ashamed, that He is the King of kings and Lord of lords!

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