A good start to my day with listening to a challenging devotional and a time of prayer with some of our elected leaders. I had an appointment with my palliative care nurse and then a “Pastor Appreciation” lunch at MacKenzie Place Retirement facility. This afternoon I attended a Natural Gas Symposium at CSU, so it was a fairly full day. But compared to being home-bound, I’m not complaining.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “People insulted Christ, but he did not insult them in return. Christ suffered, but he did not threaten. He let God, the One who judges rightly, take care of him.” 1 Peter 2:23 NCV
Our human nature is to defend ourselves, fight back and get even when we are wronged. Christ calls us to a higher standard and a different approach in life. When we are threatened, insulted and misjudged it is difficult to remain silent. I am reminded of the words of James, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” (James 1:19 NIV) As we look at 1 Peter 2, we are reminded that….
Christ is our example. “This is what you were called to do, because Christ suffered for you and gave you an example to follow. So you should do as he did.” (1 Peter 2:21 NCV) When we do face insults and persecution for the cause of Christ, we need to be confident that our situation is seen by God. Peter says of Christ, “He let God…take care of him.”
God is pleased when we endure. “…if you suffer for doing good, and you are patient, then God is pleased.” (1 Peter 2:20 NCV) God does not delight in our pain, but He is pleased with our obedience and our faithfulness and our perseverance in the face of opposition.
We need to live today with the end in view. “…Live such good lives that they will see the good things you do and will give glory to God on the day when Christ comes again.” (1 Peter 2:12 NCV) It is difficult to be patient and to allow someone to see that God’s ways are the best. We want more immediate and timely vindication. But as we keep our eyes on the Lord and stay faithful, we can have the confidence that when Christ returns, those who rejected Christ will be the ones with regrets. We also need to remember that our goal is not to “win an argument” it is to see lives changed by God’s grace and love.
Keeping our focus on the Lord, makes the difference. “A person might have to suffer even when it is unfair, but if he thinks of God and can stand the pain, God is pleased.” (I Peter 2:19 NCV) When we suffer, we tend to focus on our pain or on the source of our pain; but if we can look past that and focus on the Lord, He will give us the strength that is needed to be true over-comers.
In many ways it is difficult for us to connect with the type of persecution that the recipients of Peter’s letter were experiencing. They did not live in a country that valued freedom and personal rights. Kings were ruthless and evil and yet Peter said, they should be respected and honored.
In our world today, we see that many who follow Christ do so in a hostile environment. Some of that can take place in families and communities in our county. However, we realize in many places, believers may not just faced the ridicule of just words, but the threat of their physical safety. With that in mind it is important for us to give thanks for the land in which we live. It is important for us to be steadfast in our obedience to the Lord and lives we live. It is important for us to pray for persecuted Christians around the world.