We think if someone calls us a slanderous name, like "jesus freak" that we are persecuted for the gospel. I think we like the prestige of martyrdom so much we have learned to market it in our own lives. We talk of what we lose when we come to Christ or what we give up when Christ "calls" us to do something or move somewhere. We have lost the focus and have learned to blanket ourselves under the same cloud as the very sect Jesus spent 3 years fighting against. The pharisees. We have learned to say yes, to getting stepped on, so we look more spiritual. We think the more we lack boundaries, the greater our reward in heaven. When someone asks us to help and we really don't want but say yes anyhow that we are advancing the kingdom. When in actuality, through dishnesty, we are wounding the very advancement of it. We must realize that persecution is usually and ultimately death. Paul in prison, that is persecution. We have cheapened the struggles, and loss of blood of those who are truly persecuted by our complaining of the loss of TV or our lights go out, or our lack of income (not to minimize our struggles, but, that is what they are struggles, not persecution.
Christ says if you want the prestige of martyrdom, you have to start by killing your fleshly desires from the inside out. If you want all the prestige, you have to go around serving the hated, the refuse, the underdog. You have to scrub toilets, so to speak. To become great, you have to be a servant, less than you want or are capable to bring yourself to. You have to fall at the knees of a carpenter who washed feet and ask Him to teach you what it is to truly follow Him. And trust me, when it all comes down to it, you will truly experience the reality and "prestige of martyrdom". Let's live lives that glorify God in all we do. When we do so, the devil will try to slow us down through persecution, but, Christ says to count it a blessing, so, when it truly happens, count all your blessings, each and every scourging.
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