Unfortunately, in our modern-Americanized version of Christianity, suffering for the gospel is unfamiliar. The gospel has lost its offense and its power, for to remove the offending truth is to remove the salvation it brings. Therefore, those who are unashamed of the gospel and its truth will suffer because of it.
We can try to equivocate a carefree Christian life in this world, but Scripture makes it evidently clear—all who desire to live a godly life will suffer (2 Tim. 3:12). Yes, it says “all.”
Christians who don’t suffer for the gospel don’t confront the world with the gospel. They are dressed in the world’s version of it, not the one that clothed Jesus.
Jesus was clothed in suffering. As “the founder and perfecter of our faith,” He “suffered the cross” and “despised the shame” (Heb. 12:2). He was shamed outwardly, but unashamed inwardly.
Christians are followers of Christ. We are to “share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8). We are to endure the cross and despise the shame. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). Though figurative, it points to a very literal reality.
Being shamed for the gospel is inseparable from being unashamed of the gospel. The Christ follower will be shamed for the gospel, however that suffering may come, if he is truly unashamed of the gospel.
Scripture puts it this way, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). The Christ follower must be willing to confront the world at any cost to himself.
Remember that the world hates Jesus and since He is not here to hate, they will hate you instead—that is, if you remind them of Him (Jn. 15:18). Do you remind the world of Jesus? You will know by the shame you despise.
Christian: Be shamed, but be unashamed.