Some printed info from a special interest group about an upcoming public event that talks about open-mindedness, diversity, discrimination and no-tolerance to any who are in disagreement with them is long on rhetoric. Their neatly packed language aims to build non-judgemental views about themselves and their event(s). It turns out to be a homosexual sponsored event. Trouble is that God cannot be intimidated or sent packing from His planet. His Character and what He wishes for man are positive and holy morals, which cannot be changed or dismissed. We would do well to listen to the prophet Habakkuk “But the Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.” (Hab. 2:20). God gave us His Son who in turn when He had completed His mission left behind a Great Commission. He had commissioned the Church “to make disciples of all nations.” (Mat. 28:18-20). Believers are given the responsibility to reach out to all people, no discrimination intended here, everyone is in His field of view since all are sinners and in need to be saved. All this talk about inclusiveness and diversity is simply a means to put on a happy face to immoral living once you understand things from a divine perspective. Two thousand years ago, Christianity came into effect because of the act of one man, Jesus Christ. He carried out His mission to save lives from hell and taught His followers to understand their role in spreading the gospel. Many have taken-up His cross since then. Anyone who follows in His footsteps will require courage and boldness to witness for Him. Just look at the Lord’s life and that of His followers and see why.
Jesus the image of God who suffered and died for sinful man faced great opposition and persecution on His way to the cross. Isaiah describes Him as one “who was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isa. 53:7b). Jesus epitomized courage and commitment and Peter reminds us that to follow Jesus is to follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21). The terms witness and martyr are closely aligned when identified with suffering, persecution and death and may be used interchangeably depending on context.
For Christians, the willingness to suffer means more than an uncomfortable pew or longer than usual messages. Real suffering is connected to the realities of what Christ had to endure. In Hebrews rests a collection of testimonies from and for His followers; unfortunately martyrdom continues today for many Christians in many Islamic lands.
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets — who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated — of whom the world was not worthy — wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth ……. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
No doubt Jesus suffered greatly. He paid the dearest price of all. He became man and braved the assaults and rejection of men. Yet, he willingly went to the cross for our sake. I had hoped that by reasoning through the Scriptures, it has convinced the reader that to follow Christ is a costly calling. Yet, with a trail of unflappable testimonies from our past in Hebrews, the promise of eternal life and God’s help in standing firm in this life for His Son, you can see why Paul can say “I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.” (Gal. 5:22) Consider your need for Christ and His forgiveness in your life and begin a challenging journey that will see you in heaven one day. Trust Christ and repent of your sins and He will save you.