1 Peter 4:16
Posted August 28, 2012
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
If you're new to Verses Project, welcome! We hope and pray that each week's posts are tools for you to sustainably memorize & meditate on God's Word. We've been following the basic memory system laid out by Fighter Verses (www.fighterverses.com), so check that out and download their app on your iPhones to follow along with us more easily and more resources to help you engage with the verses. It's hard to meditate without memorizing, and we've found song & artwork to be a surprisingly easy and effective way to engage with God through the Scriptures. Consider inviting a friend in to join you on this journey so you're not doing it alone! We pray the Holy Spirit gives us a greater love & appetite for God's Word and also to live it out in our every day lives! May we be as the Psalmist describes in Psalm 1, a people whose "delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night".
Ok, back to our verse! The letter of 1 Peter was written to Christians who were not strangers to suffering for their faith. For those in the Western world, there is much less persecution for your faith (or perhaps different, more disguised forms). However, in John 15:20 Jesus said, "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you." Why should we be surprised today if we are persecuted for Christ?
Suffering is common to all mankind... People of all walks, regardless of their beliefs, suffer in this life. What marks this verse as different is that it specifically addresses those who suffer "as a Christian". The word "Christian" used here (only used in 2 other parts of the New Testament: Acts 11:26 and 26:28) addresses those who are following Christ. There is a beautiful honor in suffering because of the one you are following. This verse reminds us of Acts 5:40-41, which tells us the story of Peter & the apostles who were beaten and asked to not speak of the name of Jesus. As soon as they left their beating by the council, it says they were, "...rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name."
There are other ways of suffering that you could not say the same thing for. The verse immediately before in 1 Peter says, "...but let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler." So if we suffer (which in this life we know we will), let it be because of Christ and not sin! Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson said, "Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences." May we pick the banquets we sit at wisely!
Ask yourself a few questions: When do you have joy in Jesus? When things are going well? What about when you suffer? May we learn to glorify God even through suffering! It's precisely then, in the suffering, when we can display him as most worthy... If you want to explore more on this verse, check out the Fighter Verse blog for this week: http://fighterverses.com/blog-post/suffering-as-a-christian/
We have two renditions of the same verse for this week. The first (synth-tastic, we might add) was written by Dustin Ragland, who's a drummer, producer, & singer/songwriter out of Oklahoma City and produced by Chris Clark. If you want to hear more music Dustin's written, check out "The Red Land Tradition", an album from his band Eutopian Accident: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-red-land-tradition/id316332666. The second song was written by Joel Limpic & sung by Jaime Cochran, another worship leader/singer/songwriter from OKC.