First, it is important to remember that this was a letter addressed to those living in a Greco-Roman household in the first century. Despite its use in the past, this is not a passage that condones slavery. What it does is insist that new life in Christ – following Jesus’ teaching and example – might bring a person into conflict with the prevailing culture. For us, there is not much risk that we will be beaten for standing up for our principles, but we may still suffer in some way.
Can you think of a time when you felt excluded or belittled for your beliefs? How did you respond in that situation? What do we have to learn from Jesus’ response to suffering as described in verse 23?
In prayer, ask for the Spirit to infuse you with wisdom to know what aligns with God’s will, with strength for difficult moments, and for the courage to follow Jesus even when it conflicts with what is popular.