A Life Worth Living
June 24, 2017
by Maria Fontaine
A Life Worth Living
Christians have experienced persecution from Jesus’ time to the present. Our Lord explained in the Scriptures that this is a part of our lives as His followers. He said, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”1 The apostle Paul also said, “Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”2
That is true. However, for the many who equate the term “persecution” with its most severe forms—imprisonment, torture, and death—there can arise a problem. They are constantly hearing many accounts on YouTube, in the news, and on many Christian websites of the rising numbers of those of faith who have been called to endure such forms of persecution. But then they look around at the many other Christians in the world who have faithfully served Jesus their entire life, yet never faced anything that severe, and wonder if somehow those people weren’t “godly” enough to be in that group of “all who would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
I think the answer can be found by looking at the definition of the word “persecution.” I looked up its meaning in both secular and Bible dictionaries. In both cases the definitions include terms such as “being pursued, pressed on, oppressed, or suffering punishment.” Some definitions described the meaning as “facing resistance, hostility, ill treatment, or opposition.” This paints a much broader picture.
When you live the truth of the gospel, it’s inevitable that you will face opposition and resistance in one form or another.
Some are called to endure very extreme forms of persecution, while others suffer in other ways. Whatever the situation, God gives them the strength and courage to face what He has asked of them.
None of us can know what will come into our lives in the future, but we do know that whatever it is, Jesus will never fail us. Whatever He calls us to do in this life, if we are closely following Him, we will glorify Him. No matter what He asks us to do, His power will be there to help us when we need it. As we look to Him, we will be victors, and He will be pleased with us.
I wanted to hear what the Lord had to say on this subject. Here’s what He gave in prophecy:
What is a martyr? A martyr is literally one who is a witness. It’s a matter of how you approach life. Living each day with the faith of a martyr takes doing all you can to be a witness, a living example of what you believe and what you have learned from Me.
Then, if at some point you find yourself in a similar situation as these who have suffered severe persecution, you will be prepared, because the principles are the same and you will have made the choice to put everything on the altar to follow Me without conditions.
Live your faith daily. Then if one day you come to face imprisonment, suffering, or death as a witness to the truth, it will simply be another step in what has been filling your heart all along. Those who have suffered these things for their faith are wonderful, visible examples of the power of My love that they chose to make a part of them. Also, a life that is sold out to Me, one that doesn’t end up facing such extremes of persecution, can be just as beautiful.
Whether the attack on your faith is physical and visible or relatively unseen, as it can be in the seemingly “easy life” in many places in the Western world, in all circumstances you can continue to strengthen your convictions and stand up for your faith by developing a closer relationship with Me. You can wake up each morning looking to Me to show you how to live what you believe.
Being passionate about finding ways to live your faith in Me takes a vibrant, active, growing connection between us. As our bond grows, so does your trust in Me. If this is how you live each day, then if you come face to face with the more severe forms of sacrifice or suffering, or even face death for My sake, rather than abandoning your faith, you’ll stand on My truth, the only true foundation. That is the martyr’s spirit, and it comes from your love for Me.
Making Me a part of everything in your life is the key. Living close to Me daily is the path to what you need. Those who eventually did face extreme forms of persecution had to begin by choosing each day to follow Me, just as you have to. When the time came that I asked them to pay the ultimate price, they carried on as they had always carried on, arm in arm with Me, as they left behind the ordeal they were enduring to walk with Me into all that awaited them in heaven.
The principles are the same no matter who you are. When you face troubles of any kind, or witness troubles in the lives of others, you can use those things as opportunities to live your faith moment by moment, day by day, in big or small ways. Let what you experience each day draw you closer to Me. Then you’ll be ready for whatever this world throws at you, now or in the future, because you know that I will more than repay. That creates a life that is worth living. It costs to stir your heart to cling to Me. Only love can motivate you to willingly pay that price. Am I worth that much to you?