November 17 - Don't Be Surprised

Monday, November 17, 2008

November 17 - Don't Be Surprised - 1 Peter 4:12-19

Peter certainly has plenty to say about suffering in this letter and this time he tells us that we shouldn't be surprised at what is in front of us.

In the 70s, there were little cards that Christians passed around with the question, "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" That question strikes me now as it did then. If people aren't slandering me, lying about me, teasing me or persecuting for being a Christian, do they actually even know that I am one? Do I surround myself with people that are safe? Even my non-Christian friends are safe - they aren't actually non-Christians, they're more like non-churchgoers.

So, what do these passages on suffering for the name of Christ mean to me? I take this as a challenge to be less like the world and more like Christ. I'm not sure what that looks like on a day to day basis, but I am certain that I need to be constantly aware of my interactions with others. It's not about a legalistic set of rules that I need to live by, it's very much about how I actually show love to the people that I meet from day to day, including my family.

1 Peter 4:14 really spells out why this is so important. "If we are insulted for the name of Christ - if we are actually living like Jesus so that people might insult us, we are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on us."

I want to live as if that Spirit is resting on me. The original Greek in this passage actually means 'pauses over.' My mind's eye saw the pointer hovering over (pausing over) the scripture passage on the blog and the passage opens up so that it easily readable. As the Spirit of God pauses over me, I open up to become something so much more than what I am!

The final three verses (1 Peter 4:17-19) explain our responsibility. If we can't get it together as Christians, it will be that much more difficult for non-Christians to come to God. We need to commit ourselves to who (1 Peter 4:19)? To the 'faithful' Creator. Peter is constantly reminding us that we are to set as our baseline for living something that is much higher than any of us can hope to achieve. God is more faithful than we can ever dream of being. Yet, He has committed Himself to us. As we commit to Him and continue to do good, we will make it easier for the ungodly and the sinner to be saved.

Watch your behavior today. Just observe. Are you distinctly different from the rest of the world because of your relationship to Jesus Christ? If you aren't ... why not? This is something I really want to pay attention to this week.

Holiness is not easy, even though we think that it might be.