As a Christian

www.bible.com/1713/1pe.4.16.csb

I think it should be important to point out the statement here, “If anyone suffers as a Christian”, since we do an awful lot of suffering. I think it would be easy to miss the distinction.

We all suffer to some extent. Some suffer from insufferable pain. Others from life circumstances they’ve thrust upon themselves. Still others from what others have done to them. But how much of your suffering is done “as a Christian”? What does that mean?

For one thing, I don’t think it means when you leave a tract instead of a tip, and then the server cussed you out that you are “persecuted for the faith!” That’s just being cheap and ungrateful. That’s not Christian.

 For another, I don’t think it means standing up for the old hymns when everyone else wants to sing choruses at the worship service, or insisting on using hymn books when others use a screen. It’s not insisting everyone use the King James Bible because the others are “full of errors” because all of that is just insisting on your own rights above others, which is not the counsel of Scripture. You are not suffering “as a Christian” when others don’t agree with your worship preference. Playing the martyr and being a martyr are two very different things.

If you suffer as a Christian, you are experiencing active persecution. We don’t know much about that here in America until here recently with the COVID. When the government chooses to block you from worship, and you go anyway and get arrested for going to church, that is suffering as a  Christian, because you are suffering because you are obeying God’s command to attend with a church. 

If you go to church and Islamic insurgents come and burn down the building with you in it, then you are suffering as a Christian. If you are beaten because you have a Bible, are caught telling someone about Jesus, or wear a cross, then you are suffering as a Christian.

These are occasions to glorify God. These are occasions to “consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials.” These are the ones who cry out from under the altar and ask the Lord how much longer have to wait until judgment day. These are the martyrs, who give their life because that is better than giving up Jesus. They are persecuted and put to death all day long for His sake, and glory awaits them, not the person who got offended by your choice of music for the worship service.

 Lord help me today not be so easily offended by things that don’t matter. I know that real persecution exists, and let me lift up my brothers and sisters who really suffer it. Father I lift up all those who even today are laying down their lives because of their faith in Jesus. May You welcome them with open arms. Thank You Jesus for Your love and grace and peace. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

Persecuted for the Faith

www.bible.com/1713/mat.5.10.csb

My Life of Christ Instructor at Johnson Bible College spoke to this subject when I was a student there that has always stuck with me. The late professor Bob Martin said of this passage, ”if you are not being persecuted, are you truly serving Christ?” now I pass this on to you.

His argument was that a servant of Christ ought to expect persecution, even in a Christian nation such as ours. If we can sail through this life without anyone calling us on our faith, was our faith really in evidence? Even working on hospital floors, you do get a little persecution, the scoffing and mocking of Christian values by those that believe they don’t need them. But there are places far worse to serve.

If you haven’t suffered persecution for your faith, are you making your faith the center of your life, or is your faith private? If you have suffered, then can I pray for you, and remember you, as Hebrews 13 directs? We are all on the same team. If you haven’t been persecuted, then you need to examine yourself to make sure Jesus is evident in your life. You also need to pray for those who are suffering, so that you may do the Lord’s will.

May we remember those who are persecuted. God bless them and you.