June 14, 2007

1 Peter 4:12-19 Suffering for Bearing Christ's Name

Whoever said the Christian life was a cake-walk never stood up for anything, or researched martyred Christians, or read their Bible!
vs12) Don't be surprised if you're suffering a painful trial. These trials are inevitable in a Christian's life. I'm not just talking about being locked up and tortured because you profess to be a Christian. These trials encompass all the hardships in life due to standing up for Christ's message and how he teaches us to live; --lost friendships, mockery, put-downs etc...
vs13) Rejoice in suffering, that we share in Christ's suffering. That is what our attitude should be towards difficulty and persecution.
vs14) If we are insulted because of Christ, or what he teaches us or what he stands for, we are blessed! That is evidence that the Spirit of God is within us. People aren't rejecting us, they reject Christ within us.
vs16) If we suffer as Christians (because of the message we bear and standards of living the Bible commands) praise God we bear his name. Do not be ashamed.
vs17) God allows us to go through hardships to strengthen us and sift out lukewarm followers. How much more will the judgment and suffering be for those who reject his salvation completely? See Proverbs 11:31.
vs19) "So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful creator and continue to do good." Don't be a lukewarm Christian! Commit your ways to what Jesus teaches us in the Bible. Cling to God in your struggles. We cannot survive on our own strength, and our lives will be destroyed if we live according to the popular opinion of our culture or world or live the way we think is best. God gave us his word to read and obey. If we divert from that plan, we are doomed to failure. God is faithfully gracious and is only interested in the state of our hearts. The only way to Him is through the washing of His son. After that, we will desire to obey God and live a life that testifies what Christ teaches us in the Bible.

So as Christians who love God and want to obey him with our lives, lets stop running Christ's name through the mud and actually stand up for His message! May our lives be fruitful and a clear testimony that does not bring shame to Jesus, our Lord.

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