Raise your hand if you want to be an American martyr?

I was watching a TV show the other night where a mom had been kidnapped. The kidnappers wanted information from her and they were torturing her to get it.

It struck in my mind the analogy to Christians who are tortured for their faith either in the past, like in the Bible, or presently in some countries. The torturers generally want them to renounce their faith, tell where other Christians are, etc.

And it made me think, what does it take to withstand that? It seemed to simply be this.

Loving God more than we love our lives.

Because if you love God truly and deeply, then you trust that what He said is true. That when you die, you will go to Heaven. That we are to proclaim Him and Jesus to the highest heights and farthest reaches of the world. So, obviously, proclaiming Him would not include giving in to torturers. And if you didn’t give in, you fulfill God’s calling and you go to Heaven.

But what about the circumstance where you want to live. Maybe you have children, like the woman in the TV show who said she was not ready to move on as her torturer discussed different religions and their take on an afterlife.

Of course there are many, many things about this world that we love, not the least of which is our children.

But it becomes about what you love more.

Would there be so many Christians in the United States if we were at risk of being shot every time we walked or drove to our church? If local gangs raped us women and took our children because of our faith, would we use the term Christian so loosely?

Or would we love our life more?

American Christianity looks a little different than that. It is unlikely that we’ll ever be faced with that life and death decision of choosing God or something else. But what we love more may come out in many of the smaller choices that we make every…single…day….

     What movies do we see?
     What type of language comes out of our mouths?
     How do we spend our time?
     Is our focus on how to do what we want or how to fulfill what God wants?
     Are we fearful of death?

Do we love our life more than we love our God and His promises?

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