Jesus Freaks: a new definition of Martyr

Today, hundreds of thousands of Christians die for their faith.
Those who do not lose their lives are threatened: they are imprisoned, tortured.
Many, many more are persecuted, constantly under scrutiny or running for their lives.

The stories of those who endured have always caught my interest. I used to ask myself if I, too, would die for my Savior. Personally, I would rather die a martyr for Christ than anything else.

If the Martyr’s death is the most victorious, then what should I do about it? If I am unlikely to ever suffer at the hands of someone else, and this is something out of my control, what action is required of me?

Then I found what I was looking for a few years ago in the book Before You Meet Prince Charming in which the author, Sarah Mally, asks her readers if we would be willing to die for Christ. My immediate answer as I read this was “yes”. But then she goes on to say that while so many are willing to die, how many are willing to live for Christ?

Paul writes in Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

A few months ago, I blogged on the book “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn. In it, we meet a man who was a street sweeper. He didn’t die in prison as his father and grandfather had, or as his son and grandson would. He simply swept streets all his life. But when he went to heaven, he was introduced to a new concept: a different meaning for the word martyr. God the Father took Li by the hand and showed him his name carved into a wall. Li looked up and saw an inscription: “Wall of Martyrs”. His name was written among thousands.

“But Lord, I wasn’t killed! I died an ordinary man, I don’t deserve this honor!” Li argued.

You see, martyrdom is not dependent on the actions of others. No matter what people do or do not do to us, that cannot change our inheritance.

In the book Jesus Freaks, Volume 2: Fearing God, Not Man by DC Talk and Voice of the Martyrs, a compilation of stories points the readers to a new meaning for the word “martyr.” Being a martyr for Christ has everything to do with losing my life. But losing my life doesn’t necessarily mean “death” in the literal sense. Rather, that death is a finishing of my flesh, so nothing is left but God.

“More of You and less of me” is a common prayer…how much more could my life be worth if I changed that to “All of You (Christ) and none of me”?

I must die to myself, and live in Christ alone. In this way, I’ve already declared myself a Martyr. If I die today, I’ve lost nothing because my “self” was dead to begin with.

This is an invigorating existence.

  • http://dragonfryemeadow.blogspot.com tina

    Very good post. just today I was struggling with “what about me!” kind of thoughts in relation to serving the family but really wanting to do my own thing.

    I am in the middle of homeschool planning.It is the part of homeschooling that is the very hardest and most unenjoyable part for me. I’m needing to plan for 12 of our children (tenth grade down to K). I kept grumbling thinking that it is getting in the way of my life and what I really wanted to do which was a hobby (sewing) I enjoy. I even said to my husband that my sewing is what makes me feel important not this homeschooling stuff. Yes,I actualy said that.Ugly,ugly isn’t it?

    The root problem of it all is I was not willing to die to myself and live in Christ alone,to be a martyr. See how well your post fit.



  • http://www.AutismHelp4U.com Jodi

    I agree…I too carry a big load as I am homeschooling my children, and raising several children with autism. Plus I am 6 months pregnant with my 8th baby. There are times I feel inadequate and resentful of all of the work to be done, but I try to remind myself just what you said about Christ being first. The “all about me” attitude is pervading our society everywhere now. Mothers are complaining right and left that they don’t get enough “me time”, and I am left wondering what “me time” is, and if I should be unhappy that I am not getting any…LOL. But the key thing to remember is that Christ came to serve and not to be served, and we should do likewise. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • http://www.lauren-reavely.blogspot.com Lauren Reavely

    Wow! That was so good, Cynthia. So encouraging. So well said.

    I almost don’t know how to comment because I can’t very easily add onto that. :) I especially loved your ending:

    “In this way, I’ve already declared myself a Martyr. If I die today, I’ve lost nothing because my “self” was dead to begin with.
    This is an invigorating existence.”

    Thank you, dear.

  • http://www.christismyvictory.blogspot.com Jordan Elizabeth

    Hey Cynthia, Great post! Glad you finally got a new one up!

    You know what I’ve been thinking about? (even before I got your letter asking me if I’d rather die a martyr or of old age) I just remembered this today when I read your article- I’m not being useless for God when all I do is schoolwork, laundry, dishes, and chores. Every moment is a mission field, every single second is one in which I have to choose to die to myself and live for Christ. So even if I don’t ‘die a martyr’ in the typical sense, I still can store up treasures in Heaven.

    Like a great martyr once said, “He is no fool who loses that which he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.” (or something like that) and we certainly can’t ‘keep’ our selfish sin-natures. When we spend eternity in Heaven we won’t have them.

    I probably should print out my own words here and carry it everywhere to remind myself of this. I can be so forgetful sometimes! :)

    By the way, I got your letter and am working on a reply!

    Your Sister in Christ-
    Jordan Elizabeth

  • Sebastián

    Hola Cynthia, estoy totalmente de acuerdo con tus ideas, lo bueno de todo es poder comunicar a los demás y tratar de sumar más gente a este mundo de amor y paz que es Dios.
    Leer tus comentarios me llenan de tranquilidad.
    Muchas Gracias!
    Un gran abrazo desde Argentina.

    My english is not so good, but i´ll try to put the same i wrote in spanish.
    Hello Cynthia, i totally agree with your ideas, the good thing of all is to be able to communicate the others and trying to get more people into this world of love and peace that is God.
    Reading your comments give me peace inside.
    Thank you very much!
    A big hug from Argentine.


  • http://www.mckinneylandandcattle.wordpress.com Jessica McKinney

    Miss you my friend! But, great great post!

    May the Lord continue to Bless you!

  • Jerald R Cañeda

    God Bless you all,,,

    • Jerald R Cañeda

      James 1:12
      Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

      Brothers ,,, let’s make Desciple for Christ