I like to think if someone held a gun to my head demanding I reject Christ, I would, without hesitation, begin sharing the Gospel with them. I also like to think if they were holding a gun to my wife’s head demanding I deny Christ, I again would begin sharing the gospel with them. She knows my convictions and I am confident she would approve. I want to believe my faith is strong enough to stand for Jesus, no matter how extreme, painful, or stressful the situation is.
If you are a devoted follower of Christ, my guess is you feel the same way. But how can we possibly expect to stand for Jesus in the most extreme circumstances when we deny Him with the thoughts we think, words we say, and actions we take every day when we are under no pressure at all to deny Him?
When it comes to facing persecution, Christians tend to land in the camp of one of two extremes. They either are very fearful and filled with dread, or they become excited and eager to demonstrate their faith. As with most things, the truth and correct response lie somewhere in between. We should not be fearful because we know how this thing ends. If we die, we will at once be in eternity with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Luke 23:39-43). If we live, it means we continue to have the opportunity to tell people about Jesus and to be His hands and feet on earth. We have nothing to fear.
On the other side of the coin, while we should be eager to identify with Christ, it is naïve to believe we are prepared for whatever evil might come our way. The third and better way to stand for Jesus is to live a quiet and humble life, immersing ourselves in the study of scripture and prayer for others. The closer we draw to Christ now, the more likely we will hold fast later. Living in obedience today strengthens us to never waver in the future.
We can’t know what the future holds. Looking at what is transpiring in the world, it is difficult to imagine persecution is not coming for the Western Church, and probably much sooner than any of us want to believe. The time to discover if you are ready is not when facing the most extreme pressure, but in evaluating your commitment today. If you can’t stand for Jesus while the culture still somewhat tolerates His name, you won’t stand for Him when the culture declares war on all who dare utter the name of Christ.
You cannot live a nominal Christian life now and expect to stand for Jesus when the trials come. Time is running out to prepare, but use what time we still have. There’s never a wrong time to surrender to Jesus, and never a right time to ignore Him. When persecution comes, I believe we will see millions fall away from the faith because their commitment was never genuine (1 John 2:19). This is tragic. Don’t let it be you. Surrender to the Lordship of Jesus and give yourself completely to His mission. Dive deep into God’s Word and love him with every part of your being. Dark days are coming, and we must prepare. When the pressure comes, will you stand for Jesus or crumble under pressure?