“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!” (1 Peter 4:12-16)
Do we see it as a privilege to suffer for being a Christian? We are called to be set apart from the world, so it is natural there will be division that will lead to persecution.
And when we are persecuted we are ‘partners with Christ in his suffering’ (v13). Suffering for being a Christian is to be expected – the world is in rebellion against God and so will be opposed to His people. If we aren’t suffering, it raises the question, are we doing enough? For Jesus warns us that as they persecuted Him the Master, so they will also persecute us His servants.
So maybe if we aren’t facing persecution for our faith it is because we aren’t standing out as radically different from the world. Does the devil see us having enough impact to be worthy of attention and attack? If Christianity were illegal would there be enough evidence to arrest us?
We are saved because Jesus was willing to suffer for us. We are called to be like him. We need to ‘arm [ourselves] with the same attitude he had and be ready to suffer, too’ (1 Peter 4:1). It is time to be ready to suffer. Stop thinking of your own comfort, and focus on being like Christ. You never know what God can use your suffering for!