“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses (martyrs) to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 – Jesus speaking).
Have you ever asked yourself if you would give up your life in defense of something you believe? Do you love your life more than anything else around you? Found nothing worth dying for? Or maybe never contemplated what you might be asked to do.
Over the ages there have been countless numbers of people who have chosen the path of death when the moment came to consider if what they believed to be true was actually true, in their eyes for such a sacrifice. Many have blindly chosen to believe a lie and to die for that lie. So, I want to ask you, do you truly know what you believe about Christianity and would you be willing to die for this belief if called upon to do such an act?
The verse quoted above is well known and most people could probably quote it without the use of their bibles very closely. Yet what many people do not know or overlook is that the word translated ‘witness,’ the Greek word: ‘martus’ is or can also be translated ‘martyr.’ For those who do not know, the definition of martyr is: ‘a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion; a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause.’ (dictionary.com).
It is not enough to simply say yes or no, it is vital to take the time to seriously consider the consequences to such an action. After all, when you are in the heat of the moment, it is not the time to contemplate if your conviction in your faith is strong enough to be willing to give up your life for Christ and thus leave your family, your kids, and your friends.
It is important to ask this question before hand, and connect the 10-inch expanse that exists between the heart and the mind. Just think about the passage of scripture in Matthew 26:47-56; where we find all the disciples abandoning Christ as he was being arrested. They were all even told by Jesus that this would happen, and he had told them what the outcome would be – that he would be crucified and die. Peter declared in Matthew 26:33 that he would not abandon Jesus, but would die along side him if need be. Jesus told him that would not be the case. Jesus was the one who was right, not Peter.
All these men walked with Jesus and saw him perform the miracles that we only read about. They saw him walk on water, calm the storm, raise people from the dead. Peter was one of the three to see him transfigured before their eyes on the mountain. Yet after seeing all of this, they still ran when the moment of crises arrived.
Yet history also shows that all these disciples that ran later chose to die for their belief in Jesus when called upon to either reject Christ or die. Was this change just because they saw Jesus rise from the dead and that gave them the conviction? Was it because they did not really believe before, but after he rose, they believed? Or was it simply because they had not truly asked themselves if they really were wiling to give up their lives, in both their hearts and minds.
Most of us would have the emotional response that yes, we would. Thus our heart has answered. But what about our minds. I know that I have never analyzes the truth of my life my true loyalties and whether I am willing to truly give everything up for what I believe. My kids, my wife, my stuff… My passions, my hobbies, but flesh. Do I believe enough to say to a mob of people that I will side with Christ, when they have built the bonfire, and the stake is ready for me to be tied to? What then, is Christ any less real just because of the pain he is going to let me experience?
If you think that you would never have to make this decision, then just take a look at history. Countless numbers died for their belief in Christ throughout the ages. Take a look at other countries, it is still happening- maybe not burning at the stake, but there are burnings, drowning, shootings, rapes, hangings, and more.
Martin Luther says: “we cannot save our lives at the expense of our confession without acknowledging that we hold them in higher estimation than the honor of God and the salvation of our should.”
Thus it is time we take our faith more seriously and realize that we can either play church or actually be the church. And I do not mean a building. Being a Christian is not a Sunday morning event, or the clothes we put on, it must be who we are. Take the time and connect those 10 inches to reality.
It is time to get real for Him.