Do you realize that there are people in other parts of the world who face imprisonment, persecution and even death when they speak about Jesus? Even in the times that we now live in, people can still be treated as criminals simply by opening a book…the Book. But does that stop these brave people in foreign lands from expressing their faith and getting radical with their efforts to share it with others? No, the answer is no. There are missionaries all over the globe risking it all for Jesus; literally laying their lives on the line just to show their fellow man the gospels and the freedom that it brings. Then there are those who are rejecting their country’s religion and embracing Christianity with reckless abandon, knowing that their lives hang in the balance but it’s a risk they are willing to take.
And here I sit, in a country protected by freedom of speech, religion, and so much more and I hesitate at times to speak about my Lord and Savior for fear of offending someone? I’ve missed opportunities to share the truth about Jesus because I didn’t want confrontation, having to defend or justify my beliefs. Did Jesus not die for me? Doesn’t that make Him worth fighting for? When I speak the name of Jesus, there is no danger of me being put to death, no threat of being locked away so why would I ever sit idly by and keep my mouth shut?
When looking for Scriptures about standing in the face of persecution, I came across a few verses in Jeremiah that I’d like to share.
“When I speak, the words burst out. “Violence and destruction!” I shout.
So these messages from the Lord have made me a household joke.
But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in His name,
His word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones!
I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!
I have heard the many rumors about me.
They call me “The Man Who Lives in Terror.”
They threaten, “If you say anything, we will report it.”
Even my old friends are watching me, waiting for a fatal slip.
“He will trap himself,” they say, “and then we will get our revenge on him.”
But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior.
Before him my persecutors will stumble.
They cannot defeat me.
They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated.
Their dishonor will never be forgotten.”
(Jeremiah 20:8-11 NLT)
Lord, I want to be on fire for you. Help me not to squelch your Spirit when it pulls me to do or say something for your glory. Give me boldness to live out my faith in public without fear of ridicule. Remind me, Jesus, that it was you who first faced persecution and that there are still others today living for you in far less favorable conditions. Let me never forget that your Word is full of the promise that you are always me, never forsaking me, and that the battle has already been won. Empty me of all fear. Fill me with assurance of who you are and the truth of your Word so that I can’t help but pour it out to all who are willing to hear. And lastly, let the words that I speak and the things that I do be honorable in your sight, that I may take my last breath knowing that I have given the very best of me for my Jesus. Amen.