Opportunity to suffer for His name
1 Peter 4:12-14
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Where we live quite often shapes what we expect.
Should you and I live in where the governing authorities consistently provide freedoms of religion, speech and protective justice, you may be surprised when this tough stuff begins burning in your life. Living in a place like the United States today, we expect few hassles.
However, if you live where such freedoms are restricted, or allowed to be abused, you may expect the fire. Middle-eastern Christians are often not so protected, especially when converting from a religion (e.g., Islam) so thoroughly intertwined with a home country’s culture. In such places, sharing in the sufferings of Christ is inevitable.
Regardless of where we live, Peter offers an important word for those who follow and identify with the Lord Jesus Christ. “Don’t be surprised … at the fire.” Frankly, his word does catch us in surprise. Some teach that God’s children, “children of the King,” should expect (even demand!) privilege and protection today. Right now. To experience less is a failure to apprehend God’s promises.
The one deserving our ears is Jesus’ apostle. Peter promises the opposite. Fiery sufferings ought be expected, if not welcomed, when arising from identification with the name of Christ. Such was the world’s response to Him, and now toward us.
Yet there is the unique blessing of the Spirit in this, a resting of His glory on your life. And, a greater, more-enduring, fulfilling experience of joy and gladness when Jesus Christ in glory, with us, is finally revealed to all. We understand the entire creation eagerly yearns for that moment (Rom.8:21).