I PETER 3:13-18: “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not be afraid or worry about their threats. Instead sanctify Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, yet with humility and reverence—keeping a clear conscience so that, whatever you are accused of, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Messiah may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good (if it is God’s will) than for doing evil. For Messiah once suffered for sins also—the righteous for the unrighteous—in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Ruach.” TLV
OBSERVATION: Am I willing to suffer wrong for doing what is right? Is the truth more important than my personal comfort? Am I an undercover agent or a bold ambassador for Jesus Christ? In this day of upside down morality, and situational ethics, these are good questions to ask myself.
Peter reminds us that the general rule of thumb is that one is not harmed when they are doing good. However, there are times when this is not the case, and Peter acknowledges this. We live in such times. To stand up for the truth is literally to paint a bullseye on your chest and invite others to begin taking shots at you. We live in a culture where evil is spoken of as good, and good is spoken of as evil. So what do we do?
Peter gives us some solid instruction. The first thing we do is sanctify Jesus as Lord in our hearts. This means that everything in life takes second place to the Lord. Our position, our comfort, and being understood, must be laid at the altar. We must be willing to suffer for Christ’s sake, realizing that as we do the blessing of the Lord rests upon us.
- “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great! For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12
The second thing we need to do is prepare ourselves to give an answer to anyone who questions the hope that is within us. This is not a license to argue and ridicule those who oppose the truth. Peter makes it very clear in his instruction – “…yet with humility and reverence—keeping a clear conscience so that, whatever you are accused of, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Messiah may be put to shame.”
Recently someone asked me how I could pray for our current President. They opposed his policies and felt that he was a loathsome individual. I respectfully answered them with some Scriptural instructions that guide my life and instruct me to pray for all those who are in authority over me. This set off a firestorm that I did not expect. Yet, the fire did not start with me. I simply answered the question that was directed to me. And I did not enter into an angry back and forth and debate.
In all honesty, it is easier to simply duck these situations then enter into them. However, if we never stand up for God’s Word, if we are afraid to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not believe, if we hide our faith in a napkin and bury it in the ground, we are actually speaking volumes without saying a word. Yet, if we speak the truth with humility and reverence, keeping a clear conscience, we are being faithful to the Lord’s command, and we will be the recipients of His blessings and abundant grace.
Finally, it is always better to suffer for doing and saying what is right, then it is for suffering for doing what is wrong – or not doing anything at all.
- “For it is better to suffer for doing good (if it is God’s will) than for doing evil. For Messiah once suffered for sins also—the righteous for the unrighteous—in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Ruach (Spirit).”
How many times have I failed to stand up for what I believe, and then later carried a heart filled with regret? How many times have I acted like a secret agent for Jesus Christ, rather than an ambassador that is called, commissioned, and empowered to share the truth with the nations? The voices of those who oppose God’s truth are shouting in the streets. If those who hold His truth keep silent and hide, an entire generation can be lost. However, if we rise up, in humility and reverence, and boldly proclaim the Word of Truth to the nations, to our nation, we just might see a wave of revival fall upon our land.
If ever there was a time to be bold for the truth it is today. Like Esther, we must begin with sincere prayer. Then we must be willing to count the cost – “…for such a time as this.”
Lord, help me to count the cost today!
In Jesus Name!