Devotion for the Third Sunday in Lent

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
~ 1 Peter 4:12-16

We don’t like to suffer. We’re accustomed to living a comfortable life, with plenty of food, adequate shelter, and clothing that not only protects us from the elements but looks good as well. If we get sick, we expect to get a shot or take a pill and get well. We certainly don’t think we should be reviled because of our belief in Jesus Christ. Yet Christians are losing their jobs for expressing their beliefs, florists and bakers are being sued because they refuse to provide services in violation of their Christian faith, and believers are being mocked, ridiculed, and called intolerant. None of this is new, though. Martyrdom has occurred since the days of the apostles. And the Bible tells us that we are to glorify God if we suffer as a Christian. We are blessed when we suffer for our faith—the Spirit of glory and of God rests on us when we are persecuted for the name of Jesus.

Almighty and everlasting God, give me courage and endurance and hope when faced with suffering, abuse, persecution for my faith. If I am mistreated for Your sake, let me thank You for sharing in even a tiny bit the suffering of Jesus. In His name I pray. Amen.

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