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.