I’ll Take My Punishment Later, Please

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Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, April 6, 2015
Based Upon 1 Peter 4:12–16, 19

This morning, I would like to offer the best, most obvious advice ever! Now that I have gotten your attention, here it goes: Since everybody in the world will suffer at some point in time, you should choose not to do so for being foul. This is brilliant, I know. The obvious outcome for living foul is punishment. Why would anyone want to be punished for lying, stealing, murder, gossip, or adultery? Why would anyone want to suffer the natural consequences of getting drunk, high, or being high on one’s false view of self, which all lead to disaster? Although I built up my advice earlier, it is really not that brilliant at all, it is actually an over simplification, that most of us miss entirely.

Let me start again from the other side of this overly simplified coin of advice: Since everybody in the world will suffer at some point in time, you should choose to do so for being a genuine friend of God. True believers suffer, because we are aligned with our Creator, whom the devil hates.

For some unknown reason, the devil was dissatisfied with love, peace, joy, gentleness, meekness, and purity. He was allergic to holiness, happiness, bliss, and harmony.

Therefore, he waged unholy war in heaven. On the precipice between heaven and earth, he was defeated. He waged unholy war during the life of Christ on earth. At the cross, he was defeated. He continues to wage war on earth as Jesus prepares a place to receive His people unto Himself. In the lives of true-hearted believers, he is defeated. When the Holy City of God comes to rest upon the earth, all sin, unrepentant sinners, death and the devil will be destroyed once and for all. So, each of us needs to decide if we will align ourselves with a defeated foe as he makes his last-ditch efforts to dethrone the living God or with the One who loves us with an everlasting love. Simple. Right?

Since the Bible is a far more effective purveyor of truth than I, let me leave you with the following passage to give you perspective and a reason to rejoice: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, when it takes place to test you, as if something strange were happening to you. But to the degree that you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of his glory you may rejoice and be glad. If you are reviled on account of the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. By all means do not let anyone of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. But if someone suffers as a Christian, he must not be ashamed, but must glorify God with this name. So then also those who suffer according to the will of God must entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing good. ” (1 Peter 4:12–16, 19 LEB).

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