Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! (1 Peter 4:12-16 NLT)
Some people pay a high price to be a Christian. It is reported that over the last 100 years, more believers have died for the cause of Christ than the previous 1900 years combined. Suffering for the cause of Christ is something that is very real in our present day.
Many Christians suffer by being put into prison, while others suffer by being put to death. But there also others who suffer in many other ways. In some marriages, either a husband or a wife is ridiculed for their commitment to the Lord. In many school settings and places of employment, heavy restrictions are placed upon any type of religious activity. For many believers, just letting those around you know that you are a Christian can often bring ridicule and mockery. Yet the Bible tells us that we should not shy away from such rejection; but rather we should rejoice.
Peter gives several reasons for why a suffering Christian should rejoice. First of all, we should rejoice that we have the privilege of being called by His name. Perhaps there is no greater thing that can be said of us than that we are ‘Christ-like.’
Secondly, we should rejoice that such suffering brings fellowship with our Savior. I’m sure that each of us have often thought about the great suffering Jesus endured on the cross. For many, such thoughts bring tears. “How can I ever repay the Lord for all that He has done for me?” we might ask. One way we can give something back to our Lord is by our willingness to suffer for His gospel. Paul writes – I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. (Col 1:24-25 NLT)
Thirdly, we should also rejoice because one day, we will witness every knee bowing and every tongue confessing that Jesus is Lord. Though Christians are often the recipients of the world’s ridicule, one day Christians will be the ones who have the privilege of serving King Jesus.
Peter tells us – “It is no shame to suffer for being a Christian.” I’m sure that even as Peter penned those words, he thought back to a night when he was ashamed to be called one of ‘His followers.’ I’m sure that Peter often said to himself, “Never again will I allow the threat of suffering to tempt me to deny my Lord.” It is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!”