Living A Strange Life
1 Peter 4:4 “They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.”
Jesus would not conform to this world. His temptation at the hand of Satan reminds us that our daily existence is provided not by the food we purchase but is determined by the God who feeds our souls. Our desire for worldly recognition is replaced by the truth that we are known by God himself. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture and this alone gives us inner strength and assurance that no matter what we experience in life, God is present in supporting, encouraging and comforting us.
Jesus’ intention throughout his ministry and earthly life was to live out His Father’s will for his life. His suffering in the flesh revealed his victory over sin. He was tempted, as we are tempted, but his suffering proves his victory over temptation and His lack of sin. Who struggles over doing wrong? Who agonizes over what lie to tell, what adulterous encounter to have, which person to rob? The people who suffer are those for whom a choice is available. Christians suffer in making the right choice, the Godly choice that lines up with God’s will. Suffering reflects the daily battle over sin and the victory we experience in daily skirmishes.
“Christ’s suffering is the sharing of his ministry of love, forgiveness, embrace of the marginalized, and his call for equal justice for all people, a ministry that then and now brings opposition from vested interests and threatened prejudices... the fellowship of Christ’s suffering is not joined at the time of suffering; it is joined at the time of service and witness, and the suffering follows. The suffering at the hands of the critical and abusive culture was interpreted by the church as evidence that they were being faithful to the will of God as it had been lived out by Jesus Christ. It was this understanding that gave them joy… The sufferer has to ask, What did I do right? as well as, What did I do wrong?”xiv Suffering for doing wrong is not suffering but justice.
Prayer: When ridicule and persecution for living to your glory should confront us, Lord remind us of Christ’s passion for obedience to your will. Help me to know your power in the midst of right living and may my witness not be darkened in these difficult times. Amen.