We love to focus on God’s goodness. Christians recite His promises to care for us, heal us, and protect us. We belief it is His will to prosper us. These promises are real, and I have many stories to tell of His loving care in my own life. But lately, I pause to wonder, do I love and serve Him for His benefits alone or am I truly in love with this wonderful Savior, willing to lay down my reputation, my comfort, and even my life to show my loyalty and commitment?
Among the Bible promises we celebrate, are some we would rather ignore–persecution, trouble, and martyrdom are sure to come. All of these were common to first century followers of Christ. The writers of the Epistles confirmed that these trials are normal for Believers. Peter wrote not to be surprised by the suffering, but to rejoice because sharing Christ’s burden also means sharing His glory (1 Peter 4:12-13). Paul instructed Timothy saying, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12 NLT).” He also told the church at Corinth that the more they were called on to suffer for the sake of their faith, the more comfort they would receive from God through Christ (2 Corinthians 1:5).
Though we have been lulled into complacency by our religious freedoms and easy access to the Gospel, the Word predicts a time, as we near the end, when this will not be the case. Already our culture asks us to go along with values and morays that are diametrically opposed to the Bible. Even now, we can be ostracized and cancelled for espousing a Biblical Worldview. Are you willing to suffer even this amount of persecution to follow Christ? Am I? Would I give my life to follow Him?
I want to say an emphatic yes. I am praying that if I am called on to die for the love of Jesus, I will be filled with courage, singing praises and glorifying God right to the end as legend says our forefathers did.
When I read my Bible or listen to teachers who predict that these are the end of the End Times, it seems the question becomes more and more relevant. Maybe it will all be sunny again soon; but there are lots of dark clouds on the horizon. Pandemics, high gas prices, inflation, a dip in the Stock Market all seem to be signs pointing to least a storm or two. If it is the End Times and the Tribulation is afoot, we are in for quite a ride.
Regardless of where we stand in history, Revelation 12:11 (NLV) tells us how to triumph over the enemy of our souls:
They had power over him and won because of the blood of the Lamb and by telling what He had done for them. They did not love their lives but were willing to die.
I will honor what Jesus did for me at the Cross. I will be quick to testify of His goodness in my life. I will remember that my life on earth is not the end, but only the beginning of a wonderful adventure with the Lord! I will overcome!