Today’s reading: 1 Peter 3:8-22
One of the dominant themes throughout the First Letter of Peter is suffering while living a righteous life for Christ. Today’s reading focuses heavily on this topic by mentioning suffering for righteousness’ sake in some form at least five different times in fifteen verses. Consider the following (emphasis mine):
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. -1 Peter 3:9
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God… -1 Peter 3:14-18
When something is repeated numerous times in Scripture—especially in a matter of only a few verses—we should pause to take note of it’s importance.
Peter is stressing to us that suffering will be a reality for the follower of Jesus in this life. When we strive to live our lives in holiness and righteousness for the glory of God in this broken world, things quickly become hard. Very hard.
Just because we have been born again in Jesus and attempt to live our lives for Him does not mean we get a free pass from hardship and suffering. If anything, our chances for facing these things increase significantly because Jesus calls us to do hard things for His glory through the advancement of His Kingdom.
To put it bluntly, the gospel does not call us to a life of comfort and ease, but to a life of sacrifice and selflessness. After all, this is the example Jesus modeled for us (v. 18). If He suffered for righteousness’ sake, what makes us think we should not also face suffering?
Yes, Satan hates us. Yes, the world may reject and persecute us. But, my friends, God is for us! Therefore, let us lay down our lives for the sake of making His gospel known in this dark world, in both word and deed.
Believing the truth of the gospel and living out it’s implications for your life is a dangerous thing. At the end of the day, however, it is the only thing worth believing and giving your life for. Will you live and suffer for Him today?
Father God, I thank You today for reigniting a fire within me to live a life of zeal for You and Your gospel. I ask for forgiveness for bemoaning and complaining about the recent hardships I have encountered. They are only small things to deal with when compared to the plight of most people in this world. I repent of thinking I am too good to suffer for Your sake, Jesus. How ridiculous it is for me to think that I can be called to Your salvation without being called to Your suffering. Whenever I begin to push back and refuse to rejoice in suffering, remind me of the the truth of the gospel: that You, the Righteous One of Heaven, suffered for unrighteousness sinners like me, so that You could bring us to God. May I rest in this truth today. Please empower me to not repay evil for evil, but with blessing. By Your grace, may I turn away from evil and do good; may I seek peace and pursue it. In the midst of trial and tribulation, may You help me to not fear or be troubled. Instead, may I always honor You in my heart as holy, Lord Jesus. Please help me to be prepared at any moment to gently and respectfully share the hope of the gospel which You have placed within me so that others may come to know You. May I humbly submit to Your will in my life, all for Your glory and praise. In the confident and strong name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.
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