Within the span of three days, I was
ridiculed for wearing a cross pendant, my sister-in-law was
scorned for standing up for her faith, and her husband made
a stand for his faith at work. It is getting less and
less popular to be a Christian today. Many in this
world view Christians as old fashioned, intolerant, and
divisive. I thank the Lord that I live in a country
where all I have to face is ridicule. In many
countries, Christians are still being put to death for their
beliefs. Nevertheless, it can still be difficult to
face the scorn of “friends” and colleagues. God never
said it would be easy to follow him. I think most
Christians can share similar stories to those above.
One could coast through life as a Sunday morning pew-warmer,
and may not be subjected to verbal attacks. If you
choose to be a contender, if you make that decision that you
will contend for your faith in the face of the enemy, then
you can be assured that you will be slandered.
day after I was teased for wearing a cross, I was reading
through 1 Peter. The words I read were a tremendous source
of encouragement, and I was able to share them with my
sister-in-law and her husband. 1 Peter 3:13-18 says,
is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But
even if you should suffer for what is right, you are
blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be
frightened.’ But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks
you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do
this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear
conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against
your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their
slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for
doing good than for doing evil. For Christ died for sins
once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring
you to God.”
Wow! What a powerful message!
Peter knew all too well the struggles that Christians face.
To contend for your faith is to accept that risk. You
can pay a high price for your obedience to Christ. My
sister-in-law lost a friend because of the stand she took.
The only way to avoid that risk is to become a pew-warmer.
But Christ did not call us to merely sit in Church every
Sunday. He did not call us to attend retreats, weekly
Bible studies, or volunteer for the coffee ministry.
He called us to take up our crosses and follow Him. He
called us to put it all on the line for Him. He called
us to love others, and to love them enough to show them the
truth. If we are not willing to contend for our faith, what
kind of faith do we have? Think of your best friend.
If he or she were tubing down a river, and you knew if they
stayed in the water, they’d eventually plummet down a 200
foot waterfall, would you just wave at them as they floated
by? No! You’d be shouting at them, warning them,
doing your best to prevent their death! God has called
us to warn humanity of the waterfall towards which they’re
heading! This message will not always be warmly
received. But the alternative is to drag our pews out to
the waterfall and watch our neighbors perish. Could
you feel smug about your faith then? Would you feel
Christ-like? Peter continues in chapter 4, verses 12
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial
you are suffering, as though something strange were
happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the
sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when
his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the
name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory
and of God rests on you. 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. For it is time for judgment to begin with the
family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the
outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
And, ‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what
will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’ So then,
those who suffer according to God’s will should commit
themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do
Let me emphasize verse 16: “However,
if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise
God that you bear that name.” I think a great many
Christians are ashamed or embarrassed to stand up and be
counted as a follower of Christ. I know I used to feel
embarrassed when questioned about my faith. How wrong I
was, and in the back of my mind, I heard a cock crow.
I exhort all of you, to contend
proudly for your faith. I don’t encourage anyone to give up
the fellowship of believers, but at the same time, do not be
content to simply warm a pew. My oldest brother was talking
to me about the institutional church, and used the term “churchianity”.
I laughed when I heard him use the term, but found it all to
appropriate in some instances. So it can also be said that
we are Christians, not “churchians”, and we must be proud to
“bear that name”. Always be ready to give an answer for
your faith. It won’t be easy. The cost in this world can
be high. But Peter also illustrates the rewards for being a
loving and earnest contender. I leave you with 1 Peter
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into
a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never
perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who
through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming
of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last
time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a
little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds
of trials. These have come so that your faith – of
greater worth than gold, which perishes even though
refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in
praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even
though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are
filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are
receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your
God bless you as you contend for the faith!