“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” – Mark 8:35
Because of events in Oregon and in the Middle East where believers have been persecuted by gunpoint for their faith, many Christians may begin to wonder what their answer would be to a gunman’s question, “Are you a Christian?” The movements #ImAChristian and #IWouldSayYes are good movements in theory, but if you were to be completely honest with yourself, how would you actually answer if you were put on the spot and your life was on the line? And on a lesser scale, how would you handle a controversial conversation with a friend who thinks differently about issues the Bible is sure about? Would you stand up for the truth in love? And what about the pressure you might feel to conform to the way others live or behave that is contrary to the guidelines of God’s Word. Would you be able to stand up under that pressure to do the right thing?
In every situation we have the opportunity to embrace God’s ways or deny them. One of Jesus’ closest friends, Peter, denied Jesus not once, but three times. Peter was fearful of what might happen if he acknowledged his relationship with Jesus. But, there is forgiveness even in this as we can see in Peter’s life after he denied Christ three times. After Jesus restored and forgave Peter, Peter received many other chances to deny Christ to escape punishment or ridicule, but he never again chose to deny his Savior and ended up dying for the sake of Christ. Peter realized that following Jesus was worth losing everything in this life because of all that he gained in the next.
God may not call you to die for your faith, but He is definitely asking you to live for it. If we say, “Yes, I am a Christian” we risk losing our lives or our reputations or some of our relationships here on earth, but Christ promises those who risk that will gain life with Him eternally. Are we willing to trade something so temporary for the promises of life and hope and love we find in God?