Thursday, April 9, 2009

WWYD (What Would You Do)?

According to a sermon I heard a while back, there are approximately 168,000 martyrs each year for the Christian faith. I feel sick after hearing about one, but 168,000. After serving in China, and being a fan of the Jesus Freaks series, I knew there were present-day martyrs. I thought there were may like 100 per year or something. One-hundred sixty-eight thousand people are dying for Christ each year. Oh, and let’s not forget those that survive, but are maimed and tortured for the faith.

I once heard a sermon from Chuck Swindoll on the mountains and valleys of the Christian life. Essentially, he said that if you aren’t in a valley now, you will be.

Why? Because we are enemies of the Enemy.

Paul tells us no to be surprised at our trials, and exhorts us to be glad of suffering because it makes us partners in Christ’s suffering (1 Peter 4:12-13).


I am guessing some of you are nodding in agreement. After all, this is not a new verse, and you have surely heard it before. But have you ever REALLY suffered for Christ? As for me, I have endured challenges from being obedient to the Lord, but I am not sure I have ever truly suffered. Not that I am asking for it or anything…it just got me thinking: how far would I go to honor God?

What would you do? Don’t just say “anything” and be done- think it through. Would you sell your house and all your belongings to live in a cardboard box? Would you move around the world to a place where nobody knows you, knowing you could never see anyone you love again? Would you accept circumstances that are “boring” and “everyday” without complaint? Would you continue to follow the Lord if you developed a painful disease or suddenly lost all your loved ones? Would you give up your life, like the 168,000 Christian martyrs each year? Let’s make it harder: would you give up your child’s life to honor God?

Would you give up your child’s life to save one person from eternal separation from God? I’m pretty sure I might not. But God would have given His son for just one of us.

I can’t even comprehend that.

How can we lead others to Christ, knowing they will suffer? Of all the cultures we’ve worked with, Americans are the most terrified of suffering. We expect things to be easy: running water, fast food, email, instant text messaging. To suffer by choice is incomprehensible. However, when people have already experienced suffering, they seem more willing to suffer for Christ. To them, it is a small price to pay for eternal life with the Lord.

I have much yet to learn.


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