1 Peter 4:12-19 (ESV)
Suffering as a Christian
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[a] and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[b]
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
This past week, a Utah nurse was unjustly arrested for not consenting to draw blood from a patient under conditions that clearly went against hospital policy. It is clear that the nurse was doing the right thing. Both the Salt Lake City Police Department and the Mayor’s office have publicly stated that the nurse suffered an unjust arrest.
According to today’s reading from 1 Peter, to suffer for doing what is right is part and parcel of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. “Beloved,” the author writes, “do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed” (4:12- 13). When we suffer for doing what is right, then our suffering brings glory to God.
It is not easy to stand up and do the right thing when we know that doing so will cause others to make fun of us, or exclude us, or speak ill of us, or even to physically harm us. Yet, as today’s reading reminds us, it is far better to suffer for doing what is right than to give in to evil and, in so doing, to bring disgrace to God and to ourselves. The last verse of today’s reading encourages us, “Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good” (4:19). Doing what is right is rarely easy and will sometimes cause us to suffer. When we do, we can trust God’s promise to be with us and to use our suffering for good.
Lord Jesus, give me the strength to always do what is right, even when doing so causes me to suffer the consequences. Amen.
Written by Pastor Greg Busboom—Lead Pastor firstname.lastname@example.org