in Heaven Obedience/Discipleship Pain/Suffering Service/Servanthood Speech/Words

If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 1 Peter 4:15-16

As I write this, I can hardly imagine the emotions of believers who are persecuted. While countless believers have been put to death throughout the ages, and many are dying for their faith throughout the world, American Christians don't give persecution a second thought. But Peter is writing to those who may well die for their faith. Take in his solemn instruction.

It may get very violent, but Peter warns that violence should not be met with murder. Property may be confiscated, but the believer is not to steal to survive. Believers are to do nothing, Peter says, that would justify being punished as a criminal. There is no shame for wearing the name "Christian." Rather, "praise God that you bear that name."

That's a great reminder for us, isn't it? In a day when we do not live under the fear of persecution how much more proudly and openly should we "bear that name"! In the classroom, hallways, and lunchroom--wear it proudly! In the office, break room, and boardroom--wear it proudly! At the rec center, on the sports field, on the golf course--wear it proudly! In your home, your neighborhood, with your social group--wear it proudly! How about this one--take the fish sticker off your car and see if people can tell by your life that you "bear that name" proudly.

Lord, thank You for the privilege of being called a Christian! May we never be ashamed. May those of us who bear that name honor You with every word and action of our lives. In Jesus' name. Amen.