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“Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name.” 1 Peter 4:16 (NRSV).
The message is clear – Christians will suffer. If we are reviled for our faith, for standing firm on our Christ-honouring convictions, we are blessed, because this too is how our Saviour lived. In our suffering, we are walking in His steps.
If our suffering is in accordance with God’s will, we can entrust ourselves to Him, who will enable us to bear the hardship. Just as our faithful God sustained His Son, so will He sustain us too. When we suffer as a Christian, it is no disgrace, but glory, because we suffer in His name.
But disgrace will fall upon us when we suffer for doing wrong. “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief maker.” (1 Peter 4:15). God has no part when we suffer for doing evil. We can expect no help from Him, for “the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12). Scripture warns us against the self-inflicted suffering that comes from sin.
Let’s consider the difficulties and hardships we are encountering just now. What is the source of our suffering? Is our suffering drawing us closer to Christ or distancing us from Him and His good Spirit? If we suffer for following our Saviour, rejoice, because He will sustain us. But, if we suffer as a consequence of our sinful choices, the burden will continue to weigh heavy upon us until we repent and choose to walk closely again in obedience to God.
South-East Queensland, Australia - firstname.lastname@example.org
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