• Jack Selcher

Suffering For Doing Good

God doesn’t always protect us if we walk straight and narrow. If we’re zealous to do good, Peter implies no one will harm us. Harm is used in a special sense. Doing good doesn’t eliminate physical and emotional suffering. The point is that persecution can’t ultimately damage or injure us. No matter what, our inheritance remains on reserve in heaven (1 Peter 1:4).

Verse 14 implies that if we live like God’s children and are zealous for good, we usually don’t suffer for it. But if we do, God promises to bless us. If we’re living for Christ and sharing the gospel, some people will avoid us. They’ll talk about us behind our backs. They’ll accuse us of being narrow-minded. They’ll think our brain is cottage cheese. They might do far worse to us.

Blessing and suffering aren’t opposites. In this context, to be blessed means to be highly privileged and the object of special divine favor. God calls some of us to follow in Jesus’ steps and suffer for doing what’s right. Peter seeks to boost our confidence with words adapted from Isaiah 8:12f. The principle is that if we fear God, we need not fear people. In effect, Peter says, “Don’t fear your persecutors but acknowledge Christ as the Holy One in your heart, the portable religious center that goes wherever you do.

The Bible knows nothing about private, personal faith. Is our hope in Christ obvious to others? Are we prepared to tell others what He’s done in our lives? Can we defend why we believe as we do? Can we share how we know there’s a God? Why Jesus is God? Why we know Jesus rose from the dead? How we know the Bible is God’s word? Why Jesus is the only way to God? Know Why You Believe by Paul Little answers these questions.

Being prepared isn’t enough. Our attitude matters. People remember our spirit longer than our message. Gently defending the faith means we don’t exalt ourselves. Doing it reverently means we exalt Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts. We don’t. We also need a conscience free of guilt. We can’t be effective witnesses if we’re ashamed of some part of our life.

When we stand for Christ, some people will attack us. If we do what’s right, their accusations will be empty. The time of their shame may be Judgment Day.

If God wills us to suffer for doing good, there’s some profit for His glory, for others’ good, or ours. He assigns us to prepare to give a reason for our hope. Are you prepared?

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See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at https://www.christiangrowthresources.com

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