“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? But, if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”
I Peter 2:19-20
By standing firm on the Word of God, we’ll never fall for error and will always glorify the One by Whose Name we are called.
Our response to this Word depends upon what mode or condition we’re in. If we’re like Jonah, running from the Lord, or like Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9), it connotes the Holy Spirit’s “pricking” in our conscience over “sin, the need of righteousness and Judgment to come” (Jn. 16:8-11; Acts 2:37).
Yet, today’s Manna reminds us that there’s a different type of conviction.
It’s called “the courage to do what’s right regardless of what it costs you.”
Fox’s Book of Martyrs is filled with stories of New Testament saints who “counted the cost” and still followed Christ to the death. All of the original 12 Apostles (except Judas and John, who died at a ripe old age, even though he’d been dropped in a pot of boiling oil and wouldn’t burn) died a violent, martyr’s death.
But, we shouldn’t be surprised at such—not when we remember the Greek word “martus,” from which we get “martyr,” is used for “witness” in Acts 1:8.
Truly, Christ has not called us to a life of ease and a Pilgrim, primrose pathway. A thousand times no! Instead, He has called us to come alongside Him as we “deny ourselves, die to ourselves and dedicate ourselves to following Him daily” (Lk. 9:23; Gal. 2:20).
Serving Christ will often mean “suffering with Christ” (Rom. 8:17; I Cor. 4:12; 6:7; Phil. 1:29; 4:12; I Thess. 3:4; II Thess. 1:5; I Tim. 4:10; II Tim. 1:12; 2:9, 12; 3:12; I Pet. 3:17; 4:16, 19). But, today’s Manna reminds us that this suffering is not sanctioned or blessed by God if we “suffer wrongfully” or in response to our wrongdoing.
That means we shouldn’t feel down, slighted, mistreated or adopt a “martyr’s complex” if we’re “reaping the wages of sin;” we’re simply suffering the “consequences” of sin and have no reason to glory in our suffering.
However, if we’re being “buffeted (Grk. ‘kolaphizo’—‘to strike with the fists, pummel, inflict punishment upon, rap sharply and repeatedly, etc.’)” by others because of our obedience to Christ. . .and we “take it patiently (Grk. ‘hupomeno’—‘to stay under the load, remain, endure, persevere, etc.’)”. . .we can rest assured that this is “acceptable to God and thankworthy (Grk. ‘charis’—‘graciousness, gratifying, beneficial, pleasurable, etc.’).”
May the Holy Spirit give us wisdom on knowing “when to speak up and when to be quiet” (Prov. 26:4-5; Eccl. 3:7b) and when to act or refrain from acting. And, above all, may we have the courage to always do what He tells us to do, regardless of what it’ll cost us—for that’s what brings glory to God.
June 22, 2011