1 Peter 4:12-19
The young man had finished telling his story: How he grew up far
away, in a culture dominated by one of the great religions. How
someone told him about Jesus. How he came to love and follow the
Christ and to request baptism. How his family rejected him. How a
cousin nearly killed him, trying to beat the “evil” spirit of Jesus out
of him. How his parents looked on approvingly.
Then I asked how other Christians could pray for him, as well as
for converts who endure persecution and face death for following
Jesus. At last, after quiet pondering, he answered: Pray for our perse-
verance, not for our rescue. The only way our people—our friends
and family—will come to love Jesus is if we remain faithful, even
when we are persecuted.
Other Christians from other places who suffer similarly echo this young saint’s words: For the sake of the gospel, ask God to make us faithful—even loving—but not safe. Verse 16 of today’s passage says, Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name. Contrast this spirit with the attitudes of Christians who claim they are persecuted when someone disagrees with them, who worship status over sacrifice.
What if our Christian response to adversity—be it forceful persecution, stinging mockery, or mild disagreement—was to glorify God because you bear this name (v. 16)? How might this change the calculus of our relationships and help others receive the Good News?
The gospel is flourishing in hard places because believers willingly give themselves for the cause of Christ. Rather than hold onto safety, protection, or even a modicum of power, they offer themselves as living—sometimes dying—sacrifices who glorify God.
How could you turn adversity into a God-glorifying event?
God, help us let go of our inclination to save ourselves. Guide us to find blessing in adversity and to glorify you, no matter what. Amen.