Commendable before God

1 Peter 2:18-21 

18Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.


If someone say, “Make a wish, and I will grant you!” What do you wish? When you were younger, did you wish for something? Did it happen as you have wished? A smart person said, “I want to be a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of my own company and earn much money.” Another one said, “I want to marry a self-made rich person.” And another one simply said, “I just want to experience once-in-a-lifetime love that I spend with for the rest of my life with.” Well, everyone has unique personal wish for their life.

Your wish could be your goal in life. If so, you should plan more intentionally on how you proceed in life, right? For example: You want to travel to anywhere you wish. You set your mind to your preferred destination. You plan how you proceed, how much you spend, where to stop and do necessities. It’s not smart if you just say, “I get there when I get there!” And you should expect possible problems, like shortage of supplies.

Have you found a place in this world with no problem? Different season of the year presents different challenges in life. Difficulties should not dissuade us to quit if we seriously want to reach our goal, right? What do you wish to accomplish in your life before leaving this world? Spend sufficient time for things that have eternal significance.

Apostle Paul advised in 1 Corinthians 7:30-31, 30Those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

Concerned groups promote saving this planet; they provide scientific studies to prove that this earth is deteriorating. Concerned or not, this planet cannot last forever.

As citizens of heaven, we should spend sufficient time and effort to prepare for eternal residency. Our goals and wishes in life should involve things with eternal value.

Learn from King David. It is possible he wished, but he did not openly say that he wished to become king, or even to become the greatest king of Israel. Well, he became the greatest king anyway. He may not have wished for power, wealth or popularity, but he defeated his enemies and accumulated much wealth; his popularity prolonged into our generation and may extend even to the next generation. And his one prayer item and only desire that was publicly recorded is written in Psalm 27:4, 4One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

Surely, God was delighted that David’s only desire was to dwell in the house of the Lord, and God favorably blessed him with practical things that anyone may wish to have in this world. Reflect: If your father is a very rich, gracious and loving king, will you beg him for things you need? He makes sure that his child has all practical needs. Right?

And servants of loving and gracious king are well provided with food more delicious than food of ordinary citizen; they wear clothing more dignified than clothing of ordinary citizens. They have shelter far better and cozier than dwellings of ordinary citizen; and not to mention that they are also well-secured and guarded most often.

Can you accept that our heavenly Father is merciful and gracious King of kings? He provides for the needs of his creation, especially those who belong to his household.

Realistically, believers have different social status: rich and poor alike, famous and ordinary, free or slave; anyone who believes in Christ is adopted child of God.

Historically, slaves have suffered unfair treatment accordingly. Can suffering cause us to trust God more? Have you been unfairly treated? Unfair treatment should cause us to draw and come nearer to the Lord, if we are conscious of God.

1.  Conscious

18Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 

Initially, Peter advised the believers scattered in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) on how they should live and behave in a foreign land. Interestingly, he also advised how slaves should live and behave as believers in Christ. If your employer is very harsh, you might be maltreated like slaves. If you have good and considerate boss, you’re blessed.

If we are conscious of God; if we are conscious of our status as children of God and citizens of heaven, we could bear the pain of unfair treatment. How could that be?

The Holy Spirit inspires us to be conscious of God. He also produces fruit of joyful peace in us so that we patiently love our obligation, what we ought to do, even in harsh work conditions. Seriously? Difficult situations can be instrumental for us to check and evaluate our spiritual status, if we really have received the Holy Spirit of God.


In first century, Stephen was one of the original deacons of the very first Christian church in Jerusalem. He was accused and charged before the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was Jewish Supreme Court in the first century. Stephen made the Sanhedrin very angry when he testified and reminded them that they killed Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

It narrated in Acts 7:55-60, 55Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56“Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Stephen full of the Holy Spirit was murdered, yet he prayed for his tormentors. What unfair treatment is much worse than physical torture to death? You may have been physically tortured or emotionally abused. You may have been unfairly treated somewhere. Make sure that you have received the Holy Spirit of God in your life.

Pray very sincerely and seriously, “Lord, fill me and empower me by your Holy Spirit!” Keep on praying similar prayer until you are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. How do we know that we received empowerment of the Holy Spirit? You sense joyful peace and have patience to endure unfairness and love even the unlovable.

Harshly treated or not, will behavior be credited as commendable before God?

2.  Credit

20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

The term “credit” is properly interpreted as “praise, fame, glory or renown.”

It is foolish to praise a wicked person who was punished for doing wrong, right?

But, if we suffer because we accomplished our obligation diligently, we receive praise and credit before God. Certainly, the Lord commends believers who endure suffering.

How can we endure suffering with peace and gladness? Pray for inspiration from the Holy Spirit of God. Listen: If you patiently endure something, do you complain about the suffering you endured? That is not the kind of patience commendable to God.

Patience that comes from the Holy Spirit includes love for what we do, peace and gladness of heart; and as a result, we praise and thank God that we endured. It is very advisable to make sure we are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God always. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. He inspires us to have positive outlook in life. Pray sincerely to have positive attitude even in unfamiliar situations.

Abraham’s servant

Reflect on this. Abraham instructed his slave or servant, “Get a wife for Isaac my son from my relatives.” The servant travelled and obediently followed the instruction of Abraham; and the servant testified of his personal experience in Genesis 24:42-44: 42“When I came to the spring today, I said, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come. 43See, I am standing beside this spring. If a young woman comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,” 44and if she says to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too,” let her be the one the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.’

God answered the servant’s prayer. Rebekah became the wife of Isaac.

When the servant travelled to get a wife for Isaac, he took with him gold, silver, jewelry and costly gifts. He had ten camels loaded with good things.

Reflect on this: If the servant ran away with those valuable things he brought with him, he could have lived a fairly decent life without master. He could have lived as millionaire in this generation. Yet, he faithfully accomplished his mission diligently.

Now, four thousand years had passed, and we still read this story of Abraham’s faithful servant. Our personal reflection should be, “Will my behavior be worthy enough to be heard?” Our Lord Jesus Christ gave instruction how we behave in Luke 6:31-36: 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Someone said, “If your faith in God does not change your behavior and attitude, your current status and destiny will never change.” But if by faith in Christ, you endure unfairness with peaceful gladness, expect changes in your life. God will certainly exalt you to a higher level, from ordinary to extra-ordinary status, and you’ll praise him.

Prayerfully, we obey what Christ instructs us, if we are inspired by his Holy Spirit. Unfair treatment may happen anywhere. Pray for the Holy Spirit to produce joy, peace, patience to endure harsh environment. It is our calling to endure sufferings.

3.  Call

21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

            Listen: We are called to endure suffering. God has prepared reward for believers who endure. Christ has exemplified at the cross how children of God should behave even in suffering. He was tortured, crucified and died, but he endured and never complained. Actually, Christ prayed for his tormentors while dying on the cross.

He prayed in Luke 23:34, 34Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Christ was born human. He experienced every human struggle. He endured and never complained of his suffering; he proved that if we seek his help, he enables us to endure suffering with no complaint, just as he endured when he was tortured to death.

Why do we need to endure suffering? Surely in this world, everyone will suffer.

Rich or poor, powerful or not, famous or ordinary, everyone will face difficulty. Prejudice, harsh treatment, hunger, health, finances, social injustice, what else.

Next Challenge

Do you love to watch sports, games, cooking or baking competition? How about talent shows, beauty contest, survivor? What competition do you love to watch? Those competitions offer contestants opportunities to get into the next level, after they successfully overcome a challenge. Eventually, the survivor will be reward handsomely.

Similarly, every person will face difficult challenges in this life; we like it or hate it.

Different levels of challenges are testing ground of our faith in Christ. Materialism challenges our faith. If you have personally proven that you can trust Christ for material needs that involve finances including practical things that we can see, touch or taste, if you can trust God with concrete things, God presents you the next level of challenge.

The next challenge of faith in Christ could be things that involve desire, emotion and decision, relationship, health, career, vocation, job, degree, and which local church you wish to attend and ministry to serve God. Testing of faith is not overnight. It takes years.

Ultimately, everyone will be challenged to serve the Lord, for the rest of our life.

What level of spirituality do you have at the moment? What challenge level are you in, now? Are you still worried of finances? Are you confused by social status, career or vocation? Or, are you now decided to serve the Lord for the rest of your life? Pray for increase of faith. Ask and wait for the empowerment and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

We are instructed in 1 Corinthians 7:20-24, 20Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. 21Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

If situation is good, you want there; if situation is harsh, pray for godly wisdom.

The very purpose of harsh treatment is to cause confusion or negative reaction. If the Hoy Spirit of God inspires you to endure with peaceful gladness, he commends you. Can you agree that God decides how he wants us to serve him? Service to the Lord is not relegated to church ministry settings. We serve God where he situated us.

Pray to be filled and inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Lord promised in John 16:13, 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

May God fill and empower us to bring glory and praise to his name from now on.

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