“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.” 1 Peter 5:8 (The Message)
The Christian life is a great privilege many have struggled and died for. We in most western countries forgot that this privilege is still being fought for even as we speak. During our sermon this weekend we were reminded of the over 200 million professing Christians that risk their lives, and the lives of their loved ones to profess the name of Christ. Many people are still going through what our early church brothers and sisters endured, at the hands of those that wanted to oppress and suppress the message of Christ and all who would publicity stand in their faith.
The question was then asked, as we sat comfortably in our chairs safe and sound, that if our conditions did not allow for the freedom we so graciously have, how many of us would proudly and boldly profess what we call ourselves? If it meant that we would lose our jobs, our homes and even the safety of our family, how many of us would stand up for what we believe in and what so many others have suffered and died to have? Even to be able to read the scriptures and hold the bible was a hard and bitterly fought battle. And even as we speak, Christians are being threatened and forced to flee their homes and lose all they have worked years to have due to oppressive regimes and intolerance! (See Google news on world Christian oppression)
This is not a question I’m preaching to you, but even as our pastor so pointed out, is one that he and each of us, myself greatly included, needs to really sit down and think about. We should ponder the great sacrifice our Lord and Savior endured and WON. For me, that is the glorious point I believe each of us through our reflections should so tightly hold onto. Christ endured so that the many are able to share in His glory. And not as mere onlookers, but as joint heirs in the glorious inheritance that is awaiting each and every one of us upon His return. To remember that ANYTHING we must endure here and now during this lifetime is but a dull shadow of the everlasting and eternal reward that awaits us all.
So when I’m having a rough day because my boss is in a snit, the family is being, well…what families are, or even if I lose my job then it is a reminder to myself of the many sacrifices that are still being made for the privilege I so comfortably enjoy. I pray for each one of us as fellow believers to proudly profess and stand strong in His Spirit for the great privilege that we have. Remembering to diligently keep in prayer the many brothers and sisters that despite all odds are holding firm to the faith and the Word they are risking all to profess. And that upon His glorious return when at the name of Christ “Every knee shall bow before the Lord”.