So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. But remember that they will have to face God, who stands ready to judge everyone, both the living and the dead. That is why the Good News was preached to those who are now dead —so although they were destined to die like all people, they now live forever with God in the Spirit.” 1 Peter 4:1-6 NLT
The believers Peter was writing to were enduring persecution for their faith in Christ. Some were even being physically assaulted for their commitment to Christ. Being willing to suffer for Jesus is an indication of genuine devotion. Many claim to love Jesus but tuck their tail and run when their "faith" isn't palatable to those around them. There is an old saying "when the going gets tough, the tough get going". Serving Jesus isn't a walk in the park. Some think that walking with Jesus is supposed to be a bed of roses. They forget that thorns are on the stem of roses. Going to church, praying, reading the Word, proclaiming our faith, and standing for righteousness is a call of courage. This is a war we are in. Satan and sin rage against the righteous standard of God. Those of us who profess Jesus Christ as Lord will suffer persecution if we live a godly life. The world around us is wicked. Drunken parties litter the landscape like trash in a landfill. Everyone lives for the next thrill. Pleasure seeking drives our thinking and dominates our pursuits. True, authentic, devotion to Jesus is hard to find, even in the church world of America. We all want salvation from eternal hell and we desire to go to heaven, just as long as our "service to the Lord" doesn't inconvenience us or cause us pain. Anyone can sing the songs, attend church occasionally, own a Bible, talk the talk, and say "I'm a Christian". The proof is in our walk. If we say we believe, let's demonstrate it in our conduct, even when it calls us to be the minority and brings rejection. We, like the believers in Peter's time, must stand firm and not flinch in the face of sacrifice, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in mediocrity. We are called to be soldiers of the Most High God. Let's come out from among the culture and live distinct lives of godliness. Let's lift Jesus high! He died for us! Let's live for Him!
Rev. Curtis Norris