A common phrase in the church is “Will you die for Christ?” Many times people take it literally to mean they would physically die for Christ. Does your mind automatically conjure images of martyrs who have gone before us? I start to think of people like Rachel Scott who died for Christ at Columbine. I think of Stephen the Martyr who was stoned to death. I think of the many stories in Voices of the Martyrs.
Martyrdom is a true sacrifice for Christ. It is forsaking everyone and everything to glorify Christ. I am not in any way downplaying this! Revelation 20:4 has the apostle John envisioning martyred Christians reigning with Christ for a thousand years. Clearly martyrdom is a very sacred thing. Would you be willing to die for Christ? Would you be willing to say under pressure that you glorify Christ?
Here’s another question to ponder upon. Are you still willing to say that you glorify Christ when you continue to live? Philippians 1:21 says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” As Christians we know the moment we die that we are reunited with Christ and will be free of all suffering. Would you still glorify Christ if you knew every day will be pain even though you do believe in Christ? There are people who choose to do that and maybe that is the biggest challenge you can face.
Many people I have met suffer from life – long ailments – mentally and physically. They never know what each day holds. In the last two months of last year, I found myself suffering from unexplained bouts of hives that will be there one night and gone the next. It can be extremely tiresome and worrisome to spend every day wondering if this is another day that will be full of itching and trying to watch what I eat or wear. This got me thinking of some of my friends who have unexplained disorders that cause severe symptoms that come and go as they please. One day they’ll be running for a marathon and the next they will be in bed unable to move because of the pain and dizziness. It’s easy to live for Christ when life is good but do you trust Him and live for Him no matter what you are going through?
During my time of hives I learned you can embrace anxiety, depression, and fear or you can praise God anyway. God may give you something you cannot take away but are you going to choose to turn away from Him and live in sadness or embrace Him. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says,
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
These words were actually said by Paul. It has been said in studying history and some of the Bible that Paul had some issues throughout His life. Despite his problems, he was one of the best missionaries in the world. Despite the struggles of everyday life and your problems will you LIVE for Christ? Saying you will die in one instance for Christ may be easier because of the gain but are you willing to live through the pain and still glorify His name?