So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. – 1 Peter 4:1
In the middle of his letter to the Jews of the diaspora Pete tells them to be ready to suffer in the body as Jesus suffered. He mentioned also that suffering in the body for the sake of the Good News is a point in a person’s life when one has ceased with sin. Pete also told us that Jesus set the example, and we are to follow this example, even if it means persecution and suffering for God’s sake.
Everyone wants to beat the drum and rally around the slogan of “Living for Jesus”! This is a great thing to ask of the sinner/unbeliever, for they don’t know God the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. They need to be asked if they want to live for Jesus. However, on the other hand, the believer needs to be asking oneself, “Self, are you ready to suffer if not die for Jesus?” Most people, who call themselves followers of Jesus, will readily state they are living for Jesus, but few will admit they are ready to suffer or die for Jesus! Pete makes it clear for us that we will suffer for Christ. If Jesus endured the shame of the cross and took the scourging and whipping and nails and poisonous thorns and weight of our sins upon himself to set us free, should not we be willing to offer up ourselves as living sacrifices for the work of God’s kingdom? The living sacrifice should be the minimum we offer to God daily, but to offer one’s life in service to God and the spread of the Good News is ever greater. No, I don’t have a martyr’s complex, but I will lay down my life for the sake of my King if necessary. The sad truth is that the disciples of Jesus in the USA will soon have to start enduring the repressive persecution and possibly executions that our brethren encounter in lands far and near. We have been blessed to enjoy the freedoms we’ve had under ol’ glory, but what an honor to suffer or even die for His Glory!
Father, thank you for loving us and giving us eternal life through the first fruits of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us through the maze that is life on earth. Thank you for loving us enough to redeem us from a demon’s fate in hell. Pete denied you three times the night of your arrest and execution, but what a turnaround once he grabbed hold of himself and flexed! No one really wants to die or suffer torture at the hands of anyone, but I will do so if required to do so for your sake. I do love you enough to stand for your will and way and to not back down in the face of adversity. I await the soon coming day when I am able to fulfill the mission and purpose you have given me. Your will be done, Dad, not mine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.