Have you noticed all the talk of suffering in our reading? Today, it really stood out to me, but it's not the first time we have been warned!
- Jesus starts the warning with, ""Blessed are those who are persecuted, because of righteousness.." (Matt. 5:10).
- In his letter to Timothy, Paul warned, "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Timothy 3:12).
- James says we are to "consider it all joy when we experience trials of many kinds." (1:2)
- And, today, Peter says, "But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed." (3:13), and "Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourself also with the same understanding." (4:1)
That last verse was key for me! We have been warned over and over that we will be persecuted just for being a Christian, and this last verse gives a directive- "arm yourself"! Be prepared! Don't be surprised when you are treated poorly as you stand for Christ (4:12). As a matter of fact, expect it!
Have a game plan. Pre-think how you will respond. Practice your response. Be"ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you." (3:15) Peter uses an imperative that implies, "Do it now without delay!" Don't wait for the day you will be persecuted and then scramble for an answer......practice now!
I know you are already doing that, because you are reading your Bible daily, but don't you think todays' reading was a great reminder?! I think I need to go practice my response right now!