Peter went on to write, ” If you suffer as a Christian, don’t be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that Name.” (I Peter 4:16) Thus, when I look at both these verses, I see that when I stand my ground and do what’s ethically upright, I’m adhering and conforming to God’s authority, rather than the world’s…while also realizing that I don’t need to apologize or be ashamed for doing what’s right. Suffering for the sake of Christ means the world will condemn, ridicule, and reject you…but it also means you will be blessed.
This verse reminded me of the old saying, “monkey see, monkey do” which then led me into researching mob mentality. Mob, herd, or pack mentality describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational basis. Just as sheep blindly follow the flock no matter where they go just because that’s what the flock is doing, people tend to take up the behaviors of people around them. (Think of a big sporting event with lots of alcohol and passionate fans.) In a large mob, personal responsibility wanes as we lose self-awareness and we become more willing to engage in dangerous/risky behaviors. Also in a large group there’s more physical anonymity which can lead to the lax of social inhibitions. But this verse tells us not to imitate what we know is not right…rather, to say No and not apologize for our decision. For just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right.
Just like a good tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree will only produce poor fruit (Matthew 7:16-17)…our walk with the Lord is all about fruit production. You may have a hundred Bible verses memorized, but if you never put them into usable application…what good are they? Here James is saying, I will show you my faith by taking what I learned and witnessed about the Lord Jesus Christ and put it into practical action. In other words, a work-less faith is a worthless faith when at the end of the day there is no fruit (good works) to show for it.
In this letter to Titus, Paul is encouraging him to exhort the early Church in Crete to, “do what is good.” Now earlier in this Chapter Paul plainly lays out what this means for Titus…submit to authority, be obedient, peaceable, considerate, and humble. So how does this apply to us today? When we put our faith in Jesus Christ we become His hands and feet to not only proclaim the Good News of the Gospel to the world, but to represent Him to others. And in doing so emulating His character and attributes. So hopefully when people look at us-they see Jesus.