This week we’re going to consider the idea of “going all in” for Christ and what that might look like for us. We’ll come at it from a few different angles — some small, some big — read some scripture, and try to think about it practically and sustainably.
Today’s Bible Reading
“For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”
1 Peter 3:17
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
1 Peter 4:12-16
More Thoughts For Meditation
In our scripture reading today we’re faced with an uncomfortable reality of suffering: that even though we do good we will still suffer.
Maybe you have an expectation that once you begin to follow Jesus and do good you’re suffering will decrease or stop entirely. That doesn’t really seem to be the case.
Peter is pretty realistic here. I think he’s saying something like: “You’re going to experience suffering no matter what. There’s no way around it. But Jesus is trustworthy. So much so that it would be way better to suffer for and with him than to suffer pointlessly for worldly desires.”
Now, this is not an excuse to ignore suffering in our own lives or in the lives of others, or to chalk it up to “that’s just how the cookie crumbles.” That is bad theology which is no good for the world. Peter is going for something much better and deeper. He seems to be touching on our fear of suffering, the fear that leads us to avoid it, the fear we might have of taking a risk which could lead to pointless suffering.
Some people take risks. If you’re one of those people you might hear someone say you are bold, fearless, or even reckless. That actually sounds a little bit like Peter. We need those people and may God bless them, but not everyone is built that way. Maybe you prefer to avoid risk, or minimize making “risky decisions”. Maybe the idea of doing something risky is fraught with the potential for suffering.
It’s a risk to follow Jesus. It’s also a risk not to follow Jesus. If you look at it that way you might even be able to conclude that everything is a risk, even avoiding taking a risk. Everything has its consequences and you be going to suffer consequences either way.
It’s probably more complicated than that, we don’t want to be people who are constantly making bad decisions but Peter’s words might be able to give us some spiritual wherewithal to move through the fear and endure suffering. It might even be an aspect of leading a life that is “all in” for Christ. It could lead you to say something like: “Everything is a risk. Jesus seems trustworthy. I’m going to risk following him and suffer the consequences.”
Peter might call you blessed when you suffer those consequences. He might also remind you that Christ is with you in your suffering.
Suggestions For Action
Are you suffering consequences because you took a risk to follow Jesus? Are you struggling to go deeper with Jesus? Are you feeling stale and dry? Does it all seem too risky? Spend some time resting with the Lord in prayer today. Do not be ashamed of where you are but instead let the Spirit of glory and of God rest upon you. Receive the blessing God promises and listen for what that good Spirit might be saying.