The past couple of weeks we’ve talked about being “radical” in our faith and life in Christ. That’s what the Bible tells us to be. Radical is expected of us. God expects us to live in a way that looks crazy to this world—because we are above this world. Not above in the sense of being better than—but above because we set our sights on Jesus who overcame this world (Jn. 16:33).
I want to start putting faces on this. The idea is great, in theory, but what does it look like? Are there people who have done this? Can we learn from them? Yes, yes, and YES! We’re going to look at people who valued Christ more than anything, even more than their own life.
“The communist soldiers had discovered the illegal Bible study. As the preacher was reading from the Bible men with guns suddenly broke into the home, terrorizing the believers who had gathered there to worship. The Communists shouted insults and threatened to kill the Christians. The leading officer pointed his gun at the preacher’s head. ‘Hand me your Bible,’ he demanded.
Reluctantly, the preacher handed over his Bible, his prized possession. With a sneer on his face, the guard threw the Word of God on the floor at his feet.
He glared at the small congregation. ‘We will let you go,’ he growled, ‘but first, you must spit on this book of lies. Anyone who refuses will be shot.’ The believers had no choice but to obey the officer’s order.
A soldier pointed his gun at one of the men. ‘You first.’
The man slowly got up and knelt down by the Bible. Reluctantly, he spit on it, praying ‘Father, please forgive me.’ He stood up and walked to the door. The soldiers stood back and allowed him to leave.
‘Okay, you!’ the soldier said, nudging a woman forward. In tears, she could barely do what the soldier demanded. She spat only a little, but it was enough. She too was allowed to leave.
Quietly, a young girl came forward. Overcome with love for Jesus, she knelt down and picked up the Bible. She wiped off the spit with her dress. ‘What have they done to Your Word? Please forgive them,’ she prayed.
The Communist soldier put his pistol to her head. Then he pulled the trigger,.
Most of those facing persecution today could have escaped if they had denied their faith. The question is not whether we are persecuted, but whether we are willing to lay down our very lives for our faith in Jesus Christ.” (Adapted )
Remember the words of Jesus:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul ?” (Matt. 16:24-26)
Strong words to think about. Even more sobering to know they are true. Our “freedom” of religion may not always be here, so be ready. Jesus is serious. Are you serious? Is Jesus worth more to you than life? Just something to think about.