12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
This is an interesting passage for several reasons. The first reason is on this very blog I announced my sobriety pledge and then I proceeded to do on FB and it was met with different reactions. From Baaaaahahahahahahahahahahaha.... to Anthony, you're awesome! Good 4 you, you are always in my prayers...God's our strength in every circumstance. Phil. 4:13 :) It is very interesting that I explain the logic behind my decision as something to bring glory to God and my testimony as a Christian recently. The reaction again ranged. People are really not too quite sure to make of it. This is just a small sampling of what has been happening to me in recent weeks. I have some of the best friends in the world. We don’t hold each other back and we are brutally honest with one another to the point where it would make a normal man be shattered in spirit. I get constantly made fun of for my faith. They see it as a crutch and as a friend recently penned, “Christianity is not a crutch it is more of a defibrillator” They see every mistake I make and jump at the chance to mock me and poke fun at my faith. This bothered me for a while and but then it was not until last week that it bothered me enough to prompt me to action. In their mocking and teasing was actually advice. I did need to make a change.
While I understand that this “suffering” is not quite the suffering faced by Christians in the Middle East or Christians in the time of Jesus but it is a different kind of suffering. I am glad to wear my faith and to announce that I am a Christian and I should be prepared to deal with whatever kind of “hardships” that leaves me with. I think how many people are ashamed to say they love God or they need God. I think about the people who are quick to mock Christians at the first sign of failure. It is almost insulting to our brothers and sisters who are dying for their faith while we struggle to live out ours. I always remember the first time I gave my life to Christ. I fell in love with my faith. That love put something in my heart that I could only label as fire. We were on fire for God the day we accepted Jesus as our savior. If it was a scripture we wanted to read it. If it was the gospel we were sharing it. If someone was in need we were providing. Hold onto that fire that God placed into your heart and never let it go no matter what. Let each and every day be a new day to fall in love with God all over again. Let everyday be a new day to live out and share your faith. If you suffer for your faith wear that suffering like a badge of courage. You’re a Christian! You are a creation of God and the moment you announce that it is your duty to do everything to bring glory to His name.