How do you feel when someone suffers for doing the right thing? How have you felt when you’ve suffered as a consequence of doing what was right?
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.
Perth Salvation Army Major Geoff Friend, 60, was a long-serving Salvation Army Major based in the Perth suburb of Morley. Here he is in the photo about his eager work of doing good in his Perth community. In September 2016 he was on leave and on a five-week solo-preaching tour in Malawi in eastern Africa when he was attacked while walking from his hotel to nearby shops. He was put in an induced coma at a Johannesburg hospital, but died soon after.
Salvation Army Major Neil Venables said Mr Freind was passionate about his faith and helping the community, “It was always about people, investing in people’s lives, wanting to bring about the best in people’s lives.”
Edmund Clowney reflects on today’s Bible passage and says we followers of Jesus “must understand that suffering is not the opposite of blessing. Jesus had declared those to be blessed who suffer for righteousness. He promised them reward in heaven: ‘Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.’ [Matt. 5:11-12] That word of Jesus is more than a promise. It pronounces blessing. Those who will receive a heavenly reward are already blessed by the Lord. Peter emphasises this. Those who suffer receive the benediction of Christ as a present possession. Their time of suffering has been made a time of blessing.” (BST, 144) As Peter says in verse 14, But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
Head: Do I see myself as closely linked to Jesus and all he has done for me in his life, death and resurrection, and so blessed in him with eternal life?
Heart: Where is fear stopping me from doing good and being known as a follower of Jesus?
Hands: How can Jesus’ word of blessing change both my fears and my actions?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I give you thanks for Jesus and all he has done for me in his life, death and resurrection, and the great blessing of eternal life. I confess to you my fear of persecution that comes from being known as a follower of Jesus. Please enable my heart to sense what a great blessing it is to be linked to Jesus and all he has done. Lord Jesus, please cause your word of blessing in Matthew 5 to change both my fears and my actions. Amen.
A song to listen to: Praise Him https://open.spotify.com/track/78qstIFAPDmAv6y4gkiA6Q
This Grow Daily wwas 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.