Tuesday, January 12, 2016

1 Peter 3:13-17

1 Peter 3:13-17
And who are the ones who will harm you all if you all become zealous of the good things?  But if you all might suffer because of righteousness, be blessed.  You all should not be fearful of them, neither be distressed.  But make the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, always prepared for every defense to the ones who ask you all for a word regarding the hope within you.  But rather with humble gentleness and fear, while having a good conscience, in order in that which you all are being slandered the ones who malign your good behavior in Christ should put to shame.  For it is better to suffer while doing good – if you might desire the will of God – than while doing evil.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Peter asks a poignant question.  Who will harm us if we become zealous for doing good?  That’s a great question indeed!  We all know that there are plenty of people that can harm us.  There have been all kinds of martyrs for Christ.  In fact, Peter tells us as much in the second sentence.  We just might suffer.  But we need to remember Peter’s overarching theme.  Where is your citizenship?  If you are the Lord’s and your focus is on the eternal, who can take that away from you?  If you are zealous about what is important to God, who can take away your inheritance from God?  Nobody, of course.

Do you ever live fearful of what the world can do to you?  How is that natural?  Why is that not a spiritual response?

Second Thought:

To follow up this point, Peter reminds us that it is better to suffer while doing good than while doing evil.  After all, if I am doing evil – that is, pursuing my own dreams – and I am still suffering, what’s the point of pursuing my own dreams?  No, it is far better to suffer when pursuing God.  Because if I am pursuing God, then I have God’s approval.  If I have God’s approval and encounter persecution from the world, then I am all the more blessed in the life to come!

Have you ever thought of suffering as motivation for doing good?  How do you feel when you are caught pursuing your own agenda and still suffering?

Third Thought:

So how are we to live in the midst of our suffering?  We must be prepared for a defense.  People will wonder how we will be able to live for God in the midst of our suffering.  People will wonder why we don’t give up.  We need to have a defense ready.  After all, if people are wondering, they are likely also listening.  What better opportunity to speak into people’s lives than in the midst of a time when we should have no answer at all!

When you suffer, do you find you have more answers or less?  Why do we tend to have fewer answers when we suffer and are despairing?  How can we learn to be prepared to have more answers when we suffer?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Peter 3:18
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