Yield or Suffer

Yield or Suffer

Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. – 1 Peter 4:19

1 Peter 2:20-23

 20 If when you do good and suffer for it you endure; this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

February 23, 303 A.D., Emperor Diocletian, began a crackdown on the Father’s children. Diocletian took the stance, “Yield or Suffer.” The persecutors captured and hauled off church leaders and martyred them. They burned Christian books and Scriptures. Many of the Father’s children died deaths of great courage. Theodotus as he was being led to prison said, “It is but just that Christians should suffer for Him who suffered for us all.”

In the end, it was the children of the King who won the showdown. All the might of Rome could not crush the Father’s children’s allegiance to Christ. In 311, the dying Emperor Diocletian issued an edict of toleration. Christians had outlasted the brutality and strength of the empire. Their resistance to arbitrary power was instrumental in winning the right to follow their Christian faith.

John 15:20 Do you remember what I told you? “A slave is not greater than the master.” Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.

Anyone familiar with early Christian history, knows that the first three centuries A.D. were times of great persecution and martyrdom. The Romans seemed to take delight in tormenting Christians. In the world today, in many countries, persecution and martyrdom are a way of life for children of the King. Antipathy toward the Father’s children in America has not reached that level.

The threat of physical harm and death are not something that children of the King face in our country. But for us, we still experience great anguish and pain. Rather than persecution consider rejection, abandonment, snubs, betrayals, broken promises, and offenses. When we are the recipient such treatment from others how do we respond? When our only intention is to do good and help and we are treated poorly, how should we react? When our feelings are hurt, how do we respond?

Some find therapeutic value in venting their anger when wronged. Others hold their anger in and try to suppress it. All of the wrongs mentioned above and far worse transpired in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the “Suffering Servant.” “He was without sin, and yet he was insulted, and he suffered; but he accepted the insults and the suffering with serene love and bore them for the sins of the world” (Barclay). The Lord Jesus Christ repeatedly and continually committed His situation into the Father’s hands.

REFLECT & PRAY

The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked (1 John 2:6).

Father it seems like almost every day there is some reason to get upset and lash out. Teach me to release and turn over to You all of my pain, anger, and sense of offense. I pray that I will become more and more like Lord Jesus Christ and follow in His steps.

INSIGHT

The Lord Jesus Christ provided an extraordinary example. He endured insult and injury without complaining or becoming angry. Instead He demonstrated steadfastness and unfailing love.

1 Peter 2:21, 23

 21 Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

The Greek term translated example is hupogrammos. It is derived from the Greek verb hupographo to write under.

When young children were learning to write the first century A.D., the teacher would write out an example that they were to replicate. The teacher’s example, provided a sample or model, a master copy for them to imitate as they wrote. This was called the hupogrammos. The students kept practicing and practicing until they duplicated it exactly. Many of us did something like this when we were children using a blackboard or whiteboard.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our hupogrammos for learning to practice how not to get angry

When Christ experienced harsh, unfair treatment, how did He respond?

1 Peter 2:23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.

While on earth, the Lord Jesus Christ, was the recipient of repeated reproach, insult, slander, abusive speech, and attempts at entrapment. The tender, sensitive heart of the Lord Jesus Christ was wounded repeatedly. He  absorbed all the abuse without responding in kind. He controlled His tongue.

The Greek language has several past tenses. One of them is called the imperfect tense. It is used to describe continual activity in the past.

The Greek term translated entrusted is paredidomi. It is in the imperfect tense. When He was maligned, He did not answer back, He threatened no retaliation. Instead He continually and repeatedly (imperfect tense) committed Himself to the Father who judges justly. He handed all of it over to the Father.

The Lord Jesus Christ is not in the business of getting even.

By nature people are vindictive. It courses through our DNA. Yet a vengeful, spiteful spirit harms us. It generates a lot of overhead and collateral damage. “Vindictiveness will eat our heart out. It will sour our spirit” (Richison).

The Father wants us to be free of a spirit of revenge. He desires that we leave judgment and repayment in His hands. Releasing our hurt, pain, and sorrow, and handing them over the Father, granting Him control does not come naturally. Yet, it is a skill that any child of the King can practice, develop, and master.

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