1 Peter 4:12-14
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” vs. 12
The little communities of Christians that popped up in the Roman Empire were regularly subjected to intense persecution that depended more or less on the whim of the ruling authorities. The ordeals had almost become a way of life, something they could expect at any moment, and there really wasn’t any recourse except to renounce their faith. Of course some did drop away…but most remained faithful, and even began to look at their suffering as a blessing, an opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ. They were confident that, even as Christ had risen from the dead, they too would experience new life and enter into his glory. Now there does continue to be life-threatening persecution for people of faith in our day, but generally our experience with “fiery ordeals” is non-existent. Our challenge is not persecution but complacency! And it turns out that our daily exposure to riches and soft living is much more of a challenge to faith than suffering. When there is no cost to discipleship, grace is cheapened and devalued, and few people see the point of following Jesus. But some do! Even among us, there are those who understand the radical nature of the call and who boldly adopt the ethic of Jesus in their daily living. As they show mercy and work for peace, they are clothed in the elusive glory of God and are blessed beyond measure.
Thought for the Day: How is my life different from that of a non-believer?