How Committed Are You?
Rev. 20:44 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
John continues to share with us what he sees in this revelation. During this period of time there were many who were being martyred for their faith and now, in his vision, he sees them - those who have died for their faith in Jesus Christ. They have been willing to stand up for what they believe and were unwilling to compromise with the things of the world. And now they are resurrected and are reigning together with Jesus Christ.
Just the other day a friend of mine was sharing about his recent trip into a very volatile part of the world. Religious extremists are trying to wrestle control of every facet of life from the people there but in the midst of it all there are those who refuse to compromise. This includes those who have accepted Jesus Christ. The extremists see these Christ-followers as their enemies and so, my friend met and talked to the young widow of a pastor. He had just been beheaded a month ago -- and now she is alone with her small children. This just happened, this summer, the summer of 2013! There are believers who are losing their lives over their faith and love of Jesus Christ.
In another country -- another place -- things have also become extremely difficult and many people are fleeing for their lives. And there in the midst of it all the young pastor refuses to leave. "Why won't you go?" he was asked. His response, "If I can't be with them when they suffer, how can I be with them when they celebrate?"
When we read scriptures like today's we imagine the martyrs of long ago -- the ones in John's day, but there are true martyrs today -- those who are being beheaded for their faith. This brings us to a very sobering question. "How committed are you?" 'How committed am I?" My faith in Jesus Christ can't just be something I take lightly and it can't be something I simply do on an occasional Sunday. No, my commitment to him must be deep -- to the very core of my being. I must be filled through and through with his Holy Spirit until all that I am is given over to him.
Am I willing to be a modern-day martyr? Do I love Jesus enough that I would not give him up for anything? Then may that be visible in me each and every single day of my life. May I be as committed as our young leader who just lost his head for Jesus -- and may I be committed to praying for and supporting his young wife!
May God help us to be the faithful people he has called us to be in this world -- and may we be committed, even to death!
Lord, please help me to love and serve you faithfully in the little and big things of life. Amen.