Today, a woman by the name of Kim Davis has become a national news story for her open and unabashed defiance against same-sex marriage. In Rowan County Kentucky, Davis served as a court clerk in a Federal statehouse. As a part of her job, Davis was ordered to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, however, since the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in June, it is now legal for same-sex couples to be married. As a result of Davis’s defiance, she not only received public and private scrutiny but now she resides in prison.
Kim Davis was questioned by a same-sex couple who wanted to know the authority that Davis had to deny them a marriage license. Her response was that she was operating “Under God’s authority.” Davis made it clear from the very beginning that her stance was firmly rooted in her alignment with the commands and principles of God’s Word. However, as a result of her stance to comply with godly values, she was persecuted for the faith.
In the book of 1 Peter Chapter 3, the Apostle Peter touches on the subject of suffering for doing good. “Doing good” is meant to denote the active participation in seeking to exemplify a life of God’s righteousness. Verses 13-18 adequately explain what we as Christians should do and how we ought to approach persecution at the hands of unbelievers.
(NLT) “Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.”
Peter makes it clear that when we who are in Christ suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ and His righteousness, we will be rewarded. There is a reward that God will give to every person who stands for His Holiness and His Word as they are persecuted by unbelievers.
(NLT) “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!”
(NLT) “Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.”
In examining the above verses of 15-18, there are a few principles that we can extract for understanding what the cost is for being a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
1. To be a disciple of Christ it will cost you your life – The Apostle Peter says “You must worship Christ as Lord of your life.” When you accept Christ as your Savior, you also accept Him as your Lord. This means that you are no longer operating under your own volition, but you have given your life unto God through Christ. To be a disciple is to give up your very life for the cause of Christ. Persecution against Christians isn’t a new phenomenon because it has occurred for centuries. However, even in our modern day, Christians are being persecuted for the faith.
There will be a day in America when those who are truly in Christ will experience persecution on the same scale that occurs overseas. While many are still under the false belief that America will always be a country of ‘religious freedom’ the fact is that we who are in Christ will be challenged. Just as Kim Davis was jailed for her stand against homosexuality, you and I who are in Christ may see the day that our belief in God and even the truth that we speak will be attacked. However, as disciples of Jesus Christ our lives will be given for the sake of Christ. This means literally and even in how we live daily.
2. Suffering comes with being a disciple of Christ – Peter says in this passage that suffering for doing what is right is better than suffering for doing what is wrong. The fact is that the element of suffering or persecution is a part of what it means to be a disciple. We live in an age in which many who claim Christianity are afraid to suffer nor do they want to. Instead, many have embraced various sins including homosexuality in order to appease the powers that be. However, doing so is to align yourself with wicked leadership which is akin to participating in sin itself.
Rather, God is calling each person who is truly serious about their relationship with Christ to follow Him and Him alone. Suffering is a consequence of standing against sinfulness because those who are in their sin are the very enemy of God because they are disobedient in what they say and do. Peter says that it is better to suffer for doing good than to suffer for doing what is wrong.
To suffer because of your sin is much worse because for one there isn’t a reward for suffering in sin. Only destruction and a life of a poor quality result from suffering in sin. To suffer in Christ is to reap a reward both here on Earth and in Heaven. God rewards those who suffer for Christ’s sake. Since we are in Christ, we too are to take on the same type of suffering that Jesus did which is to die to our flesh and to also experience persecution as He did.
3. The testimony of your life will show forth God’s glory – Peter says “Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.” The fact is that a person who is a disciple of Jesus Christ will exhibit a lifestyle that will bring glory to God. Peter says that those who persecute you will be ashamed when they see the good life that you live because you and I belong to Christ. How we live and what we say speaks volumes to the world around us. If you and I are willing to stand up for Christ and against the deception and attacks of the enemy then God’s glory will shine in our lives.
It isn’t enough to merely claim the title of “Christian.” Rather, our lives must show others who God is and what God’s love looks like. Some believe that Kim Davis’s defiance is an act of hate. Those who are blinded from God’s truth will believe the lies of the enemy. Her choice not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples was strictly based off of God’s Word and Her obedience to Him. In standing up for God’s truth, she is embodying what it means to truly be a disciple and to give everything for the sake of Christ. Kim’s boldness will hopefully spark a national and even international response from Christians everywhere not to give into satan’s agenda.
The truth of the matter is, persecution will come to the life of every believer who is truly committed to being a disciple of Christ. The cost of being a disciple involves losing one’s reputation and their very life. All of us who are in Christ are called not only to identify with Christ but to actively pursue the cause of being a disciple of Christ. If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have an opportunity to be a part of this great call. The cost of being a disciple is monumental, but the reward is greater than anything the world can offer.