Athlete, You are Blessed if
1 Peter 4:14 (NASB)
If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
What does reviled mean? Discredited, disgraced, defamed, mistreated. Sounds like what happens in our current culture when someone doesn’t approve of what you believe or say.
If you take some heat for being aligned with Jesus, you are in good company. Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18). The treatment you may experience is nothing new.
There is a cost for being identified with Jesus. When our beliefs and allegiance to Jesus result in being canceled, it is others’ attempt to throw off any responsibility they have to God. It is generated by fear, guilt or rebellion. A Christian is the closest tangible thing they can reject.
It is only natural for those who begin a relationship with Jesus to expect Him to shield them from any fallout that comes from following Him. But, God knows suffering produces spiritual strength and endurance. In the midst of it we can know God’s presence.
Peter speaks from experience. He was ridiculed, beaten, jailed and eventually crucified for his faith. He wrote to Christians who were being persecuted.
In A.D. 64, Christians in Rome were used as human torches to light Emperor Nero’s garden parties. Yet, Peter reminds his readers that being reviled was a blessing. He says it will result in happiness.
Peter remembered what Jesus told His disciples: “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets” Luke 6:22-23 (ESV).
There will be reward in heaven for suffering for Jesus. At the end of the day, whose approval will we seek?
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