Hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps – 1 Peter 2:21
Christians love to talk about following Christ. But Peter makes it clear that we cannot expect to follow a suffering, rejected Savior without experiencing suffering and rejection ourselves. Amy Carmichael rhetorically presents this searching question:
Can we follow the Savior far,
Who have no wound or scar?
There is nothing meritorious or noble in suffering as an end in itself. As Peter pointed out in the verse immediately before, there is no inherent glory in suffering if we are only being punished for our own wrong-doing. However, he says, if you endure the buffeting of a Christ-hating world because you are following Jesus Christ, then this is pleasing and acceptable to God.
Interestingly, the possibility of not suffering and still following our Savior is not even presented as an option. Why? Because hereunto were you called — when you received the call of God on your life, it was not only the call to salvation but the call to suffering for the sake of your Savior.
Jesus assures us, “Blessed are ye, when [not “if”] men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake (Matthew 5:11). Paul reminds us that “unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).
The footprints of Jesus do not travel through luxurious lifestyles and self-asserting ambitions. They lead through uncompromising stands for the glory of God and self-sacrificial suffering for the sake of others. Are you following His steps? Are you obedient to your calling? (From “A Good Thing”)