Not ashamed to suffer for Christ
But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?” So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. 1 Peter 4:16-19
Foremost in the writing of the first epistle of Peter is the encouragement he wants to convey to Christians who are undergoing sufferings because of their faith. His desire is that they will stand firm in the face of sufferings for it is a “privilege of being called by his name!” Joy in suffering is not a trick of the mind. Rejoicing in pain has nothing to do with deriving fun or pleasure from being injured in some way. Suffering has meaning for it places us into a deeper fellowship with Jesus Christ. As this occurs, our level of trust in His wisdom and care in our lives increases so that we are able to rejoice. Joy, in its most uplifting meaning, is a deep confidence that God is in control of every area of our lives, even the painful circumstances. The fullness of joy comes from a deep sense of the presence of God in a person’s life. Joy occurs when our pain drives us to depend upon God. Identification with Jesus Christ would lead to a change in lifestyle choices and verbal testimony. Such decisions would mean remaining faithful to God and His word. When we experience sufferings because we decided to follow and obey God, the admonition is not to give up doing what pleases Him. “Keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you” (1 Peter 4: 19). Trials and sufferings can have a positive impact. They have a refining and purifying purpose. When we suffer according to God’s will, let us continue to commit ourselves to God. Believers are in good hands, because we have an all-loving and faithful God who has cared for us from the beginning.