1 Peter 4:16-19
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.…
One often hears it insinuated that a godly life is free from care and sorrow, but those persons do much harm who would cheat people into becoming religious by any such delusive hopes. All have troubles, but it makes a very great difference whether we sorrow with God or without Him. Let us now consider some of the sorrows of righteousness and compare them with the no less certain sorrows of unrighteousness. We divide the sufferings of the Christian into, first, those which spring from his struggles with outer things; secondly, those arising from his own nature — the world within. Every one knows how the first professors of Christianity had to suffer when that religion was in its infancy, and paganism or indifferentism was the creed of respectability. They were tortured, thrown to wild beasts, "butchered to make a Roman holiday." The men of noble aims find their lot a sad and lonely one still. They are smiled at as enthusiasts, sneered at as hypocrites. And then there is the pain which is felt by every one who bravely contends against the besetting sins of his inner life. Oh, who can escape from himself — this slothful, vain, selfish, lustful, envious self? To conquer this is indeed a struggle. But do not fancy for a moment that the sorrows of unrighteousness are at all less real. Suppose a man did gain the whole world at the trifling cost (as he might think it) of his own soul, what then? We know that Alexander was troubled because he had not another world to conquer, and is there not such a thing as satiety, monotony of success, and the want of not having a want? Ruined homes and cursed lives proclaim the penalties of unrestrained passions. The sufferings in this world of the murderer, thief, evil-doer, with death for wages, are at least as great as those of the Christian to be followed by God's gift of eternal life. Certainly it is difficult to resist our unholy natures, to tame rebellious passions; but there is one thing even more difficult, and that is to endure the misery which their unrestrained indulgence invariably brings along with it. Suffer we all must; but surely it makes a great difference whether God's love is seen through our sorrow, or we have the additional misery of feeling that we are in rebellion against our Heavenly Father, and that, therefore, the whole constitution of the world is against us.
(E. J. Hardy, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.