If someone in your community, workplace/school, or family was to have a go at you, would it be for something good you’ve recently done or for something bad that you’ve recently done?
1 Peter 3:13-18
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
In the photo you’ll see Creek Road’s Senior Pastor, Steve Cree, and Mark Lewis (then a Ministry Trainee with Creek Road, and now a pastor with Mt Gambier Presbyterian Church). Back then they visited some gospel ministry partners in the Philippines. Steve says about this day with the evangelists of the local ministry, “This was the scariest day of the whole trip, as we hiked 7 kilometres up the mountains to a place called Talid Talid, a village of murderers, a village of people who’d done revenge killings for their families and were now hiding together up in the hills, with serious weapons in hand. The guys who took us up there were involved in this sort of risk every day of their ministry.” Steve says sitting in Talid Talid listening to the local evangelists preach the gospel to a crowd armed with machetes and machine guns put into perspective what it really means to take the risk of suffering for doing good.
Dr Paul Barnett says about Peter’s words in verse 17, “Peter assumes that believers will be abused, based on misinformation. He insists that Christians anticipate such insults and take precise care that they cannot be accused of any misbehaviour or crime. Perhaps they will suffer for doing good deeds, if that is God’s will. Painful though this will be, it is preferable by far to suffering as wrongdoers. On the day of judgement those who accuse them unjustly will be put to shame…we see in Peter’s words the silhouette of Christ in his last hours. He did ‘good’ and did no wrong, yet he was reviled and suffered cruelly. Those who treated him unjustly will face the just judgement and be ashamed of their actions. The same holds true for those who likewise unjustly and cruelly punish believers who are innocent of any wrongdoing.” (Living Hope, 78)
The example of Jesus is what motivates the Filipino evangelists to preach the good news of Jesus to a crowd armed with machetes and machine guns. They know “it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” May we know the same as live for Jesus where we are, where our suffering for doing good make take different forms to that faced by the Filipino evangelists.
Head: Am I conscious of how my attitudes and behaviour in each area of my life impact the reputation of Jesus and his gospel?
Heart: Does my heart trust that a day is coming when all wrongs will be put right because of Jesus, who is Saviour of all who trust in him and Judge of all who continue to rebel against God?
Hands: What attitudes and behaviours do I need to change, so if I do suffer at the hands of wrongdoers it isn’t for some wrong I’m doing?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I ask for your forgiveness for those times my wrong attitudes and behaviour have negatively impacted the reputation of Jesus and his gospel. Please enable my heart to trust that a great day is coming when Jesus shall appear and all wrongs will be put right because of him. I trust in you Lord Jesus, my Saviour and the Judge of all who continue to rebel against you. Help me to notice those unhelpful attitudes and behaviours that I need to change. I ask that if at some point I do suffer at the hands of wrongdoers that it will not be for some wrong I’m doing, but for good done in the name of Jesus. In his name I pray. Amen.
A song to listen to: Be Thou My Vision https://open.spotify.com/track/4VaH6egGnLtmSqzWKiF2Ol
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Must See Passages series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.