Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 1 Peter 4:16
My high school football coach would always tell us that we were playing for the name on the front of our jersey rather than the name on the back. This was a way for us to always remember that the team was more important than the individual. We knew that when we stepped on to the field, we represented each other, for we all shared the same name. If one of us suffered, we all suffered. If one of us succeeded, we all succeeded. We stood together and were not ashamed to be part of the team.
Our faith in Christ shifts our primary allegiance from our family name to the name of Christ. By choosing to follow Christ, we chose to identify ourselves with Him. Our identity is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ. And yet we face constant threats to diminish our Christian identity in a world that is hostile to Jesus Christ. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim. 3:12). The issue is not if we will suffer as Christians, but how we will suffer as Christians.
We are going to face suffering if we hold a pro-life position. We are going to face suffering if we hold a Christian sexual ethic. We are going to face suffering if we speak against false religions. So we will suffer, but when we do, will we be ashamed of the name or will glory in the name of Christ?
Beloved, let us not be ashamed and shrink back in fear, but let us be bold to hold fast to Christ and all that His Name represents. We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, “provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom. 8:17).