This morning I was thinking and praying about Christians in Islamist and communist nations who are suffering violent persecution for their faith in Jesus. Then I remembered these Scriptures:
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.~Matthew 5:11-12 (ESV)
And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.~Acts 5:40-41
As I considered these verses I asked myself, “Am I worthy to suffer dishonor for Jesus?” and the obvious answer is no.
While the fact that I have not been beaten or had my life threatened can partially be explained by religious freedom and tolerance in the United States, I know that all too often I play it safe.
I am a “good enough” Christian. That is to say, I am just Christian enough that everyone at work knows I am a Christian, but not Christian enough to make others feel uncomfortable about not being a Christian.
This is not to say that I believe I ought to be going out of my way to offend unbelievers. It is to say that if I was living a fully Spirit-led biblical Christianity unbelievers could not remain neutral toward Jesus Christ. My life should make them squirm a bit. They would either have react with hatred toward me, or choose Jesus.
I repent, Lord. I want to follow your example–which provoked some to follow You and others to crucify You. I want to share in your sufferings. Grant me a measure of your grace so that I might live in a manner worthy to suffer for your name.