One story of the Church in Russia has been relayed from one generation to the next. It occurred one Sunday as believers met in a house church. The small fellowship gathered together and began to sing their favorite hymns quietly but fervently. Suddenly, two soldiers walked into their midst with loaded weapons.
“If you wish to renounce your commitment to Christ,” shouted one, “leave now!”
Two left. Then another. Finally, two more.
Closing the door the officer snapped with the voice of a commanding officer, “Keep your hands up – but this time in praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We too are Christians.”
The other officer then added, “We’ve learned by our experiences that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted.”
Nearing the end of his life Paul often spoke of his loyalty and commitment to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Through shipwrecks and imprisonments, disappointments and being abandoned by his friends and followers – even when facing death – he remained focused. He had achieved great status in the world but one day realized that it offered nothing in comparison to what he discovered in Christ. He was willing to suffer and die for Christ because he knew what awaited him. That’s faith.
Prayer: Our Father, we may never be called upon to suffer for You, nor we may never be asked to sacrifice anything we value for You, but help us to be willing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 4:5-8 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.