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Pain Without Shame

1 Peter 4:16
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (NIV)

Physical pain is intended to be very helpful. It is a way of telling us that something is wrong and a remedy is needed. But in many diseases, pain can play tricks on us - either failing to give the right signal, or giving the wrong ones. In this corrupted world, even moral pain can be manipulated by Satan. Sometimes, we get into trouble for doing what is right; from those who are resisting Jesus (even if they do not realise what they are doing!). The devil then deceives the believer's sensitive conscience, by suggesting that the reason for their pain is that they are in the wrong.
 
That wounded conscience will almost always feel some sort of shame: that is Satan's intention. The pain of shame usually drives us to hide away and to try to undo what has led us there. Satan encourages that, so that we pull back from the front line of Christian witness, and even apologise to others for upsetting them, when all we have done is to obey the Lord. So you can see how necessary Peter's instruction was at the time, as well as now, to keep those who follow Jesus active in public as well as private witness. The Apostle Paul tackles this head on at least 15 times including 2 Timothy 1:12, "That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day."
 
The antidote to shame is the confidence of knowing that you have God's approval. You will only find that in the Bible; which is why Christians without regular good Bible teaching become a prey for the Enemy. When you know that your life and witness agree with what the Bible says, then you can dismiss the lying temptations of Satan. He wants you to stop following Jesus. On the other hand, the Lord has chosen you to receive His grace and to administer His grace to others - for their blessing and His glory. And that should happen most, where you spend most of your time - at work!

Prayer 
Father God. Thank You for allowing me to bear the Name of Jesus, as I follow Him. When others despise me because of You, please encourage me not to feel defeated - but rather glad that the character of Christ has been recognised in me. Teach me from Your Word, the things that please You, so that I will not feel ashamed, nor be put off my commitment to follow Jesus and to serve others in His Name. For Your glory's sake. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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