“For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.” (1 Peter 4:3-4)
We’ve got to be careful with this passage, I think. Peter isn’t telling us to put on our “I’m a Victim” T-shirts and start complaining about how bad Christians are treated in our society.
He’s talking to Christians who used to party hard and are walking away from that empty lifestyle. He’s warning them that their former friends won’t get it and will “heap abuse” on them for letting go of their belief in hedonism, for giving up on expecting to find meaning in a life of pleasure and numbness.
In Peter’s day, that abuse included terrible persecution against Christians, persecution most of us have never seen, but persecution that put them right in the middle of God’s will and on the path to making the best possible use of their lives.
We’ll see tomorrow, though, that the persecutors and party people were the ones in real danger – and we have the message of hope they most need to hear.
Think: Have you ever felt abused for not jumping into sin along with your friends? Have you ever prayed for friends who were jumping into sin out of concern for the danger they face?
Pray: Ask God to help you to have the courage and strength to pay any price required to avoid sin and do the good he’s called you to do.
Do: Read more about Christians who suffer for being Christians in 1 Peter 4:12-19.