Athlete, Do Not be Surprised
1 Peter 4:12 (NASB)
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.
Every athlete has experienced the change of momentum in a game. It calls for a change in game strategy.
The same goes for real life. We live in a time when we are seeing a seismic shift in our culture, from values to morals to intolerance. It may leave you thinking — will my beliefs get me sidelined; do I need to be careful how I talk about Jesus?
Since the 1990’s, the opinion about Christianity in the culture has shifted from positive to neutral, to presently negative. Following Christ, and adhering to the truths He taught, identifies us with many issues that risk our rejection from the multitude who are driving the culture.
In today’s verse, the phrase “some strange thing” literally means “to feel like people in a strange country.” It leaves people unsure of how to respond, or even where to stand. It affects how Christian athletes function in their locker room.
Peter wrote to the Christians of his day who were suffering for being associated with Christ, including martyrdom. In some countries of the world today, professing Christ will cost you your life. The stakes are not as high here, but Peter’s words are critical for our times.
Peter says our faith will be tested, and God is in favor of that. Suffering tests the genuineness of our faith. It is a test to see if we mean what we say we believe. It is a test of our character, a test of who we are.
If you are determined to maintain your acceptance among teammates and friends, you will be tempted to hide your allegiance to Jesus, water down biblical truths or compromise what God has called His followers to.
The game has changed. Momentum has shifted. Consider the following devotionals this week to be a timeout, or half-time, to assess a strategy for living your faith in a negative culture.
Today’s devotional is one of five this week on being “Out of Step with the Culture” by Tom Petersburg.
Tom Petersburg, www.catapultministries.org