The morning news seems to always contain plenty of worrisome incidents, but his morning I was saddened to see half a dozen reports of Christians being legally persecuted for living their faith.
Although the Bible tells us following Christ comes with a cost, for many generations believers in the United States have been getting a real bargain. While we were frequently stereotyped or mocked, we were free to express our beliefs without fear of reprisal. Recent events show that is no longer the case.
Jesus then told the crowd and the disciples to come closer, and he said:
If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. 35 If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me and for the good news, you will save it. 36 What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? 37 What could you give to get back your soul?
38 Don’t be ashamed of me and my message among these unfaithful and sinful people! If you are, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.Mark 8:34-38 CEV
Christians around the world, particularly in predominantly Muslim regions have know the price of their faith for many years. I fear that in the West we have become complacent and weak. The cross we carried was too light to build up our spiritual muscles for the present testing.
Never doubt that current events are testing us. While these times are temporary and we can look ahead to our eternal life, here on this earth it is up to us to live worthy of our calling.
24-25 You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.
26-27 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No lazy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.1 Corinthians 9:24-27 MSG