Is it hard to believe that Christians are still being persecuted and slaughtered around the world just for wanting to worship God? It’s one of those facts that is in the back of my mind because we live in such a “free” society. We can pretty much do as we please and worship a flower if we wish. (That little trend is going around but that’s a different blog.). We can spend millions of dollars on buildings and décor if we choose. Some of us take the Lord’s name in vain without thought. Meanwhile all around the globe we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are literally dying to just to say the name of Jesus Christ out loud.
It made me wonder what gave them that strength and that courage to face the penalty of death. I’m sure there is some fear. After all, the flesh is weak even though the Spirit is willing. But what kind of faith does it take for these people to face persecution every day? From where does the courage come?
The hope of glory. The assurance that one day they will be united with God our Father, the king of all kings.
Now, I can admit that if I were in the shoes of the persecuted I would probably go to my death kicking and screaming out of fear of the pain. However, like so many courageous heroes of the Bible and today, I have no fear of death itself.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27:1
I’m short and petite some have even called me “tiny” and that’s okay. That being said some ask me how can I walk up to homeless people in empty corners and give them things. Aren’t you scared they’re going to grab you? Rob you? Kill you? Nope. I don’t let much really scare me anymore. I can say with confidence I don’t fear death itself. I do fear leaving my children before they are ready to be on their own. No one looks forward to the pain that may be associated with the death. Aside from that I’m ready. Are you?
Those of us who are in Christ know and understand who we are. We know that Jesus Christ conquered death. Our “death” is nothing more than a much needed nap until we are awakened by our Father to go home to Heaven. We shouldn’t fear death nor life for that matter.
We are not given a spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
God has left us the ultimate legacy to pass down the gospel in order to build the body. What a privilege! What an honor! Nothing should get int the way of our honored task of building the body of Christ.
Paul was one of the most abused disciples in the Bible. He was beaten repeatedly and left for dead. He was rejected by his own people and jailed for preaching the gospel of the grace of God to all men. But even in prison, he preached, his faith unwavering.
28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. 29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
What kept him going?
The same Holy Spirit that dwelled in Paul, also lives in each of us who are saved. This and that Holy promise of one day being with the Lord. Paul constantly encouraged Christians to focus on what is to come and not what they would have to endure. Faithful and fearless until the very end of his earthly life, Paul’s last words are just as encouraging those the body of Christ. Could we quote these words on our death bed and be justified in saying it?
2 Timothy 4:7-8
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.