In the period after Jesus, many, many people were saved. But it wasn't easy. 14...Friends, do you realize that you followed in the exact footsteps of the churches of God in Judea, those who were the first to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ? Choosing Jesus was not the easy route. On the contrary. Some had to pay with their lives.
Here where we stay, it is not that bad. Our lives are not in danger because we believe in Jesus. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand up for what we believe in. The world is no longer a Jesus-friendly world. Children of Jesus are dying out because people no longer want to stand up for what they believe in.
Maybe we've become afraid to stand up for Jesus or maybe nowadays we're so accommodating and do not want to upset others, so we say nothing.
I often receive photographs of Christians kneeling heads bowed with a soldier from an extremist group with an axe in his hand. Then I really wonder what I would do if I end up in such a situation. Would I give up my faith or would I be prepared for them to cut off my head for my faith in the Living God?
Maybe we shouldn't use such an extreme example. Let's have a look at our own environment.
Am I prepared to open my mouth about injustice at work, then being in danger of maybe losing my job? Am I prepared to proclaim Jesus' words at home and then be exposed to a flood of verbal abuse by others? Am I prepared to talk to my friend because he or she is using God's Name in vain, and then risk losing our friendship?
Many of us have such a weakened faith that we would give it up under the slightest pressure. We're actually doing it already, because all over we say nothing about injustice.
It is interesting, no, actually shocking to me to see how easily life comes between me and God. Before I know it, I do what the world says and forget God's stuff. I forget or get too lazy to get up early to spend time with God. As a result, God and his things are no longer important to me.
Eventually I'm no longer prepared to suffer for God and to put his things first in the world.
I have to decide repeatedly to set the alarm and get up earlier for devotions. This is when God has the opportunity to guide me and to make me strong for the world out there. Then I can stand up again for the things of God, and then I'm prepared to suffer for Him, because then I know what is really important.
May this become true for you too. May your relationship with God grow stronger, so that you won't hesitate to make sacrifices for Him.
1 Thessalonians 2:13-16
Are you prepared to stand up in the world for the things of God?
Will you suffer for the sake of God?
How healthy is your relationship with God?
Our Father, I realise I'm not prepared to give up everything for you. I know that the world and all the noise out there are too much inside me. I want You to show me how I need to live. One day I want to say: I will die for my God. Amen.