How to be a Martyr

Check this out:  www.persecution.com

I hear every day about missionaries and preachers being beaten and murdered, their wives and daughters raped, all in the name of Christ.  I hear how they stand firm in their belief, never wavering.  I think to myself, “If I were in that situation, I hope that I would remain as steadfast in my faith.”

Then I go into the world.  And one of my friends tells me of a weekend drunken escapade.  Another tells me about the beautiful woman he met.  Another points out every beautiful woman that walks by.  And I remain silent.

In my time of persecution, I am not steadfast in my faith.  I am quite the opposite – rejecting my faith for a quick laugh or eyefull.  I am called to be an example to the world.  Instead, the world is an example to me.  I feel uncomfortable being different in the world, so I try to conform to it.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2, ESV

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter, 1:14, ESV

Humbled and chastised, I return home and ask for God’s forgiveness.  I ask Him to give me strength to face the day tomorrow.  And, tomorrow, when I return to the world, I do it all over again.

So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.” I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:18-23, ESV

I thank God for His never-failing love, grace and mercy.  He looks upon my sins of omission and commission, then looks upon the nail-scarred hands of His Son.  He took my sin to the grave, where it will never be seen again.  And God makes me new again this morning.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:1-2, 9-12, NIV

And, as I read the psalm, I am reminded of how it continues in verse 13:

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
Psalm 51:13, NIV

I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.  Wow.  That’s my job.

I read every day about missionaries and preachers who die for Christ.  And I cannot live for him in a much simpler place.

Prayer:

Almighty Heavenly Father, maker of all things, hear my prayer.  I am in desperate need of renewal.  Through Christ, I can do all things.  And that includes not being conformed to this corrupt world in which I live.  I long to be with you, where I will face this world no more.  But you have a job for me to do.  Please help me to do it.  Give me strength to see the darkness.  Shine your light through me that others may see it.  Give me words.  Give me presence of mind to stop.  Give me the power to live as you want me to live.

Father, I am yours.  Help me to act like it.

In the name of Jesus, whose death and resurrection give us life, we pray,

Amen.

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