I have a prayer calendar for the persecuted church, positioned in such a way that I see it several times each day. The calendar is put out by The Voice of the Martyrs, and each day has a prayer request for someone in a country that does not allow freedom of religion. Some of the requests are heart breaking, but all remind me of the courage of the believers in these countries. It is often hard to know exactly how to pray for these brave men and women. I am tempted to pray for total freedom of religion in their country. Then I remember that here in America we have religious freedom and the church is withering. The same is true for England, although withering is too kind of a term for what has happened to the church there. Yet in the countries without religious freedom, Christianity is thriving, growing at an incredible pace. How can this be? Christianity has a rich history of persecution. It is always through this persecution that the message of Christ spreads. The way these believers have endured trials you and I can scarcely imagine has spoken volumes to those involved in persecuting them. To pray that these countries would obtain religious liberty is to perhaps doom them to the fate of the Church in the Western world. So I generally pray that the believers there would be strengthened with the power of Christ, that they would be courageous and bold, and above all, that their love would shine so brightly that others would be blinded by it. I pray that the leaders see the positive effect that Christians are having on society and that their message continues to spread. Through it all I am uncomfortably aware of how loud is the love of these faithful believers. They are not allowed to tell others of Christ, yet their lives are lived at such a volume that others cannot help but to experience the love of Christ.
How is your volume? When you walk into the room, do people turn and look because the love of Christ is blaring through your pores? Are they blinded by the light of God that shines through every inch of you? How is it that Christians who are not allowed to gather together in countries that are woefully poor continue to have a larger impact than the wealthy, free church of the West? The difference is they love out loud. They are not passive. They don’t wait for the right moment to serve or until they have enough extra to give. They love out loud and our love is barely a whisper. When we are called to give an account of our lives, will God be able to hear our love and all the ways we demonstrated that love to others? More likely than not, our love will be a barely audible whisper and we‘ll have little to show of its use. The good news is we have the ability to amp up the volume of our love. Every time we reach out to help someone in need, our love gets a little louder. Every time we smile at a stranger or offer an encouraging word, our love gets a little louder. Conversely, every time we hesitate, we turn the volume down a notch. Every time we walk by rather than lending a hand, the volume of our love gets that much quieter.
How loud is your life? Does it blare with the love of Christ or does it whisper the sound of selfishness and busyness? Are you willing to crank it up a notch, willing to start sharing the love of Christ every second of every minute of every hour of every day? We are called to love, period. Do you want to be a follower of Jesus? You must love everyone more than yourself. You’ve got to live out loud. You’ve got to put away everything else you’ve been living for and replace it with love for others. So many are passing away without ever believing in Jesus; it’s time to stem the tide and show them a better way. Put away your selfishness and fear. We have no guarantee of tomorrow. The time is now. Turn up the volume of your life so that others cannot help but see Jesus through you.