1 Peter 4:16, “16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”
The Apostles soon found themselves as the gospel began to spread after Pentecost the same kind of persecution that the Lord Jesus faced. The Apostles were brought before the Council in Jerusalem and told to stop preaching about the Lord Jesus. They endured a variety of hardships, such as beatings and imprisonment. Despite these things, the Apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the sake of the Lord Jesus (Acts 5:17-42). Peter himself failed to live out the gospel (Galatians 2:11-14) so we should not think he is perfect and the Bible glosses over the failures of even the greatest of saints because it doesn’t. 1 Peter 4:16 instructs readers about what the Apostles lived out very well that when we suffer as a Christian, we are never to be ashamed.
In yesterday’s devotional, we discussed “deserved suffering” meaning we are not to be proud when we suffer the consequences for being obnoxious or acting in a manner that is not Christian. In such cases, we should be ashamed and repent. We need to understand today the question, “How different is our response when we suffer for our faithfulness?” And we begin to understand that question by recognizing that to be faithful to the Lord Jesus means we must be ready to face suffering and persecution. Even while facing suffering, Christians must behave in a manner that glorifies God at every turn. When Christians suffer for the Lord Jesus, they do not stop worshipping Him or cease to follow His commands. As Christians, we continue glorifying the Lord in thought, words, deed, even though to do so might make things more difficult as followers of the Lord Jesus.
We will not be glorified and entirely like the Lord Jesus until we are in the new heavens and the new earth, which means here we will have to suffer on occasion or more for serving the Lord Jesus faithfully. The world sees such suffering as dishonorable, which is why the pagans called early believers in Christ, Christians to dishonor them. Christians must never be ashamed to be called a follower of the Lord Jesus for it is a gracious thing to endure unjust suffering for walking with Him (1 Peter 2:20).
John Calvin writes, “it is no common kindness from God, that he calls us, freed and exempted from the common punishment of our sins to so honorable a warfare as to undergo for the testimony of his Gospel either exiles, or prisons, or reproaches, or even death itself.” You and as Christians should not be ashamed to suffer for the Lord Jesus. If you are, please go before the throne of grace and then also reflect on the grace of God. Please also pray for Christians worldwide as they face suffering for the Lord Jesus.