Suffering for Christ
Suffering is a part of human existence. No matter how hard we seek to avoid it, suffering comes to us all. Moreover, the early leaders of the Church promised that those who seek to live as disciples of Jesus Christ would face persecution for doing right, as Jesus himself did.
It is difficult for us to imagine today the kind of risks our mothers and fathers in the faith took to live and proclaim the gospel. Peter’s advice to his readers to be ready at any time to give witness to their faith assumes that they will be accused, arrested, and questioned by the authorities. In comparison to those martyrs who have died for their faith, any ridicule we might face for our faith appears insignificant.
It is difficult to do what we know is right when doing so might cause others to reject us. Yet that is the way of Christ, the suffering servant. In Christ, God give us the courage to suffer for the right, and for others, because any suffering we might face here fades in comparison to the joy which is ours in Christ Jesus.
—Dr. Jay Earheart-Brown
- In what ways have you been called to suffer for your faith?
- Think of one person who has impressed you with his/her faithfulness in a time of suffering. What things impressed you most about this person’s witness?
- In 1 Peter 4:10, Peter encourages his readers to live as “good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” What does that phrase mean to you?
- The key verse seems to imply that suffering for doing right may be God’s will for us. Do you agree? Why or why not? If so, what is God’s purpose in allowing us to suffer persecution?
How Do I Act?
- Amnesty International is an organization with local chapters throughout the world which work for the release of persons who have been imprisoned because of their religious or political views. Contact your local chapter and see what you can do to help this group of people, many of whom are suffering for their faith.
- List the actions you have delayed, even though you know they are right, for fear of the consequences you might suffer. Choose one, discuss it with a trusted friend, and pray that God will give you the courage to carry it through.
- Read Foxes’s Christian Martyrs of the World, a sketch of martyrs from Jesus Christ to the 16th century, or some other work to learn about Christians who have suffered for their faith.