I currently live in a place on this earth where Christians do not have to stand up for Jesus. They’re not threatened. They’re not persecuted. They’re not interrogated or seen as social rejects. It’s normal…perfectly normal…to follow Jesus.
Praise God for that!
But not every place in this world delivers that supposedly beautiful tolerance for Christianity. Even though we are in a safe haven for Christians, it is still important to ask: “Would I go to the bitter ends for Jesus?”
At Origin, my church, we’ve been studying Paul’s letters to his disciples, Timothy. By the end of the second letter, Paul has been in a Roman prison for some time and is certainly near death. Here’s what Roman prison entailed: deep pit in the ground, no light, cold, your excrement everywhere, no food or water unless a friend brought it to you.
Paul’s at the end of his life in these disgusting conditions and he is still longing to give of the gospel to Timothy and to others.
As one of the apostles and fathers of the Christian faith, it can be easy to say to oneself that they could never measure up to Paul. But the fact of the matter is that countless of Jesus-followers, worldwide and from different countries, fiscal situations, and religious backgrounds, have given up the normalcy and comfort of the life they knew and gone to the far ends, as Paul did, to stand up for Jesus.
It doesn’t matter if I am being socially threatened for my faith, there are ways day by day that I can be going against the flow of life, against normalcy, against comfort… to stand up and be the oddity in the name of Jesus.
But since those opportunities are not as trying and as burdensome as brothers and sisters in the faith may experience in other countries, I should often reflect and ask myself…If I were looking death in the face, torture in the face, mockery in the face….
How far would I go for Jesus?