“But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.” I Peter 3:16 NLT
“Christ…….suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” (I Peter 2:21)
Just as Jesus suffered for me, so am I to suffer for Him and for others. That suffering is not the kind that human beings normally undergo; it is suffering “for Christ’s sake” and is related to my being His disciple and sent one.
It is suffering “unjustly,” as Peter states it, ‘as a lamb suffers without giving offense to others.’ (I Peter 2:19)
Jesus did not suffer because He was an evildoer, or because He wanted political power, or because He abused His body, or because He was mischievous.
He suffered because the light that He brought is always in conflict with darkness!
Our conflict with others is because of the Light of Christ in us revealing the darkness in those we encounter thus stirring up emotions which cause strife!
Whenever anyone seeks to do God’s will and live righteously, he will always suffer, because that is the nature of the relationship between good and evil. To the extent that I pursue the will of Christ and represent Him on this earth, I will suffer for it.
There is an exhilaration that comes to those who suffer after the pattern of Jesus. He found “joy” in His cross; Paul rejoiced because he could be sacrificed on the altar for his Lord; the early Christians rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for His sake. (Heb. 12:2, Phil. 2:17, Acts 5:41)
That joy is the overflow of God’s joy in heaven at the success of His work in the world.
Have I suffered for Jesus? If He is my model and pattern, it will not be long before I feel the nails and the thorns, for that is the calling of those whom God calls His “dear children”. (Eph. 5:1-2)