You can gauge what a person loves by what they devote time, resources, and passion to. No one can accuse me of being a gamer because I don’t own a video game console. Someone who owns everyone and has built an entire room around it, replete with the gaming chair, and the mood lighting, can rightly be labeled a gamer.
Actions regarding what one loves speak louder than words, so when someone insists that they love Jesus but spend their time hip deep in depravity more days than not, their words ring hollow and untrue based on the demonstrable and contrary nature of their actions.
Walking the path of victory or living a victorious life requires three constant companions. The first companion is the blood of the Lamb, the second is the word of our testimony, and the third is not loving our lives to death.
Although, as the saying goes, two out of three ain’t bad, all three are necessary to guarantee victory. If a man is clothed in the blood of Jesus, has the word of his testimony, and does not love his life, not only is he a force to be reckoned with, he is a force the enemy fears.
When we look at those who came before us and the lives they lived, we often wonder how they could be so brave, so consistent, so faithful, and so strong. How could they have endured torture, imprisonment, threats, violence, psychological warfare, and confinement, and not despair, not given up, not done as they were told just to make it stop?
Granted, some did. Some became informants, turncoats, people who would infiltrate churches and prayer groups, then once having gained their trust betray them to the authorities, but there were also those who stood. One was no different from the other as far as genetic makeup was concerned. All were individuals raised in the same culture, converted to the same faith, and living at the same time, yet some overcame, some remained faithful, while others surrendered and broke faith.
When it came down to it, it was whether they had the blood, the testimony, and did not love their lives unto death that made the difference as to whether they stood or fell. Those who stood, those who remained faithful and survived their ordeals, freely admit that it was not in their strength that they remained standing but in His.
When you make the conscious choice that you will not love your life even unto death, that you will remain faithful no matter what you might have to endure, God will give you the strength to persevere and withstand.
The old adage in the intelligence communities is that everyone breaks. Apply enough pressure for a long enough period, and whatever information you are attempting to extract will be yours eventually. Find the weakness, find the chink in the armor, and apply pressure. Squeeze until something gives, then squeeze some more to ensure you got everything. Accurate as that might be, with people that held states’ secrets or knew some sort of intelligence the other side was trying to extricate, it was not so with Christians during Communist persecution.
There were men whom professional torturers deemed unbreakable. It’s not as though they weren’t skilled at torture or that they were squeamish about doing their worst. After all, it doesn’t take a genius to yank fingernails with pliers or beat on someone’s kidneys and lungs until they vomit blood. Torture is a pretty straightforward business if you have the appetite for it, and those who were put in charge of squelching the spread of Christianity were highly motivated and reveled in the breaking of their fellow man. They took at it with gusto and enthusiasm because if one could garner a reputation of breaking Christians, then the sky was the limit as far as promotions went.
Illiterate as some of them were, they had enough presence of mind to realize that save for their penchant for brutality, there was nothing else they possessed that would have allowed them to be elevated among their peers.
So it wasn’t lack of skill that kept them from breaking certain believers, nor was it lack of motivation. By process of elimination, the only thing it could have been was something that their victims possessed that they had yet to run across when torturing political dissidents or supposed spies.
I hope you understand what I’m trying to get at, not because it’s a nifty intellectual exercise, but because the very real possibility of Christian persecution, even in a place like America, is closer than you think. If you hope to overcome if you wish to be victorious, then you must understand how those before you overcame and obtained victory.
You must be fully prepared not only to live for Christ but to die for Him long before you are called upon to make the choice. The reality that you do not love your life to the death must be grown and matured by the time you are called upon to choose because if it is but a sapling, it will sway in the storm and snap if the wind is strong enough.
Yes, I’ve heard the Americanism that dying is easy, living is hard, but perhaps we can revisit that statement when you’re strapped to an electric chair, knowing that speaking a handful of names will let you see your wife and kids again.
Living for Christ and dying for Him both have their moments, but we must be willing to do both if we are to be effective for the Kingdom and victorious in our journey.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.
Posted on 12 March 2023 | 12:44 pm
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