Now that I’m older and wiser, I know it’s more difficult and meaningful to live the proof of love over a life-time. For love to survive over decades there must be both commitment and sacrifice. In long-term relationships, those sacrifices can be either unknown or overlooked. But in a dramatic story like Romeo and Juliet, the sacrifice is obvious and glorified.
I want to live the simple daily commitment and sacrifice of a Christian, the unknown choices that honor God and no one notices or knows about. And I want to believe that if ever given the choice to make that final glorious sacrifice, I’d have the courage and faith to do it.
In America, it’s been easy to fill in the slot for our religion with the word “Christian.” It doesn’t cost us anything. But what if it did? If claiming the name of Christ, being associated with the “nation of the cross,” meant finding the same destiny as the apostles, would we still answer the question the same way?
For years the lies of the Wealth & Prosperity Gospel have been pushed on us. But there’s nothing Biblical about it. II Timothy 3:12 says plainly: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” And in I Peter 4:12-13, we’re told, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”
Sometimes our commitment to Christ is tested by bitter, atheist college professors, as in the movie God is Not Dead. (By the way, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, I highly recommend it.) We may have to face ridicule or risk failing a class, or worse, losing valuable relationships. But sometimes persecution crosses the line into martyrdom. What then? How far are we willing to go to prove the depth of our love for Jesus?
I got the message. Did you? Claiming the name of Christ may one day cost our lives. Are we willing to love Him to the end? Are we willing to serve Him to the end?
A few years ago I read a book series called The Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers. She said she wrote the first book, A Voice in the Wind because after becoming a Christian, “I didn’t want to offend anyone and risking ‘losing’ old friends and family members who didn’t share my belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior. I found myself hesitating and keeping silent. Ashamed of my cowardice and frustrated by it, I went on a quest, seeking the faith of a martyr. A Voice in the Wind was the result.
“While writing Hadassah’s story, I learned that courage is not something we can manufacture by our own efforts. But when we surrender wholeheartedly to God, He gives us the courage to face whatever comes. He gives us the words to speak when we are called to stand and voice our faith.”