For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously -1 Peter 2:20-23
There is a great confusion out in the realm of Christianity saying if you are saved and living right you will be blessed with happiness, wealth and anything you ever wanted. That sounds good to me but it does not measure up with scriptures.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. -2 Timothy 3:12
So goes the example of our Saviour: Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. -John 15:20
We need to start in verse 20; we need to separate persecution and prosecution. If we sin and suffer the consequences of it we cannot cry out they are persecuting me! You get pulled over for doing 50 mph in a 35 zone and you get a ticket, you broke the law and that defiantly falls under the later not the former.
So how do we deal with the real trials that come along in life? I know recently at work I have been dealing with a situation that just plain crossed the line into harassment. I was so severe that a manager that witnessed it asked me if I wanted to pursue harassment charges against this individual. For some reason, I didn’t want to at that time. As it continued I wondered if I did the wrong thing. Then I came across the verses in 1 Peter 2 listed above and while not easy, it was the way God wanted me to deal with it: To follow in His steps.
The phrase follow in His steps is thought provoking. I think of my childhood where it would snow in the winter and my Dad would go out to clean the driveway and I would follow him out. I could see his footprints in the snow, and would hit as many as I could but I could not hit them all, but I followed them as close as I could and stayed in his path. We are not God but we can be obedient and follow as close as we can. We are given a few commands (don’t you hate that word, but these are not written as suggestions!):
Did no sin: He is the Great High Priest that was temped in all ways yet sinless! this should be our goal. While we do sin, it should be our goal not to sin.
No Guile in His mouth: There was no deceit. He was honest and forthright and so should we, as becoming the saints of God.
Did not exchange evil for evil. As we are commanded we should bless our enmies and pray for them that despitefully use us.
Took His sufferings without threatening. How unlike us! When we feel the slightest injustice we want vengeance! Our feelings were hurt and that is not right! How dare they! They are unsaved, how do we actually expect them to act? They crucified Jesus, do we expect them to love us? (See verses above).
Committed Himself to the Righteous Judge. God will deal with it, so we can relax. He may not do it in the way we would (Get them now! They looked at me funny, they were mean to me!) but may use the situation (and us) to draw them closer to Him. Not what I would choose, but He did have compassion on me when I was unsaved.
I did not say this is easy, just right. And fortunately we do not have to do it alone. God within us, the Holy Spirit, will guide us if we let Him.
Just something to think about.