Have you taken any steps lately to grow in your devotion? Did you make it to church for both Sunday services and Wednesday Bible Study? Did you arrive for Sunday Bible Class ten minutes early? Maybe you gave a little extra in your contribution?
Any of these changes are certainly commendable. For some, this may have been a huge step in their growth as a Christian. Hopefully, this will become a new, comfortable place for them. But, does spiritual growth stop there?
Should Christians be satisfied with being comfortable? Or, have we been called to reach greater levels of faith? In First Peter, the apostle who denied Jesus tells us that being a Christian is not about finding our comfort zone and being happy with it. Instead, he tells us that Christians have been called to suffer.
Our life as a Christian is to be a living response to the life Jesus led. Peter says in 1 Peter 2:21, “For this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that you should follow His steps.” Jesus left the glory of heaven and withstood the pains of humiliation and death. So, the Christian response must be to live faithfully to the point of our own humiliation and death.
Have we ever suffered for the Lord? If we consider the amount of suffering Christians have endured throughout history, we might feel ashamed at the things we consider oppressive. While I debate with myself if I have enough energy to get up in time for Bible Class, there are Christians around the world risking their lives to worship God in secret. When Peter wrote his first epistle, he wasn’t writing to brethren who struggled to make it to church social functions. He wrote to Christians facing defamation, stoning or worse.
We have enjoyed a long period of peace in this country. But, America is becoming less and less tolerant of Christians every day. The fear of being cancelled, losing friends and losing family members has been enough to cause many to fall away. Are you prepared to suffer this or worse for Christ?
The Christians of Peter’s day did not let their sufferings silence them. Instead, they used their sufferings to glorify God (1 Pet. 4:16) because they trusted in His power to save. “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Pet. 4:19).
Will you suffer for Christ? We will find no blessings by hiding in our comfort zones. But, if we have the faith to grow and face the sufferings of Christ, we will be exceedingly glad (1 Pet. 4:13).