Posted by: Bro. Lawrence D. | October 23, 2008

Are We There Yet?!

Let’s go back to the coliseum:

Persecutor: “Believer, you have the opportunity to be set free. The only thing that the king requires is that you denounce this Jesus person and affirm him as the only lord and master.”

Believer: “Mr. Persecutor, what possibly could be a sufficient reason for me to do such a wretched thing?!”

Persecutor: “Believer, if you don’t we will have to force you.”

Believer: “Mr. Persecutor, it’s funny that you would say force. For, you see, the One for whom I stand here as prisoner Himself also forced me into an allegiance with Him. However, I sense that you will force me in a way in which He did not. What, might I ask, will be your powers of persuasion?”

Persecutor: “Believer I warn you. Do not be dismissive of my powers of persuasion. I have been told by my leader, ‘skin for skin all that a man has will he give for his life’. Therefore, I intend to put his word to the test. He has warned me that it is not 100% effective; your kind seems to be able, at times, to withstand much in the way of pressure and pain. But we will see if that holds true with you!”

Believer: “Mr. Persecutor, I suppose that it would be more than obvious to say that no one likes pain. But “my kind”, as you have stated, has been given certain assurances that if we endure, we shall be saved. We have much incentive to withstand until the very end. Our Lord’s messenger has told us that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. What possibly could you do to me that would trump that promise?”

Persecutor: “Believer, I see that you just don’t get it. All of that stuff is just a fairy tale. What is about to happen to you is real! Then where will your promises be? I’m giving you one last opportunity to denounce this Jesus.”

Believer: “Mr. Persecutor, I hate to be a bother at such a time as this but I did ask you what your powers of persuasion would be and you have not answered me.”

Persecutor: “Believer, perhaps you believe yourself to be in a position of power that you would now seek to negotiate. There was a time when my king offered your King riches, honor and glory but He refused. So my king then turned to you, His subjects. Some of you went for it and others didn’t. Strangely enough, when my king did sufficient investigation into the reasons why those that switch sides did, He found that none were actually real servants of your King. He found that they wanted the things that he was offering all along and were just waiting on someone to offer it to them. Your King offers riches that can’t be kept but must be shared, pleasures that come with rules, successes for which you can take no credit and very little else that can be held in the hand. Those who don’t understand this when they start out with Him soon are willing to abandon Him. Therefore, my king has decided to appeal to what most men will fight hardest to gain and preserve, their lives!”

Believer: “Mr. Persecutor, perhaps I have given you the wrong impression. I do not intend now nor later to negotiate for my life. For I have already died and my life is hid with Christ in God. I only had been curious as to how you could have understood what you threatened against me to be more persuasive than that which my Lord has promised me.”

Persecutor: “Believer, do you think that the loss of your eyes to burning hot pokers is somehow not persuasive?”

Believer: “Mr. Persecutor, surely you jest?! You don’t mean to persuade me by threatening the loss of these poor, wretched, sinful eyes, do you? These eyes that have lusted for opportunities to sin. These eyes that have looked for advantages over the weak and helpless. These eyes that have been full of unrighteous judgment upon others. These eyes that have spent days watching t.v. and only minutes reading the Word of God. Please Mr. Persecutor, do me the favor that I have not been brave enough to do myself. Pluck out these eyes!”

Persecutor: Believer, it seems that you are very brave. But we shall see how brave you are once I have sliced off your ears! Then, then you will relent!

Believer: “Mr. Persecutor, you can’t be serious! The loss of these poor, wretched, sinful ears can not possibly persuade me to give up my allegiance to my Lord. These ears that have entertained gossip and slander. These ears that have listened out for advantages over the weak. These ears that at times have refused to hear the voice of my Master calling me to obedience. Please dear Persecutor, take away these abominable things.”

Persecutor: “Oh Believer, no doubt your hands mean much to you since with them you pray and lift up praise unto your God.”

Believer: “Persecutor, if that were all that these hands do I may be inclined to beg you to spare them. However, the truth is that these hands have also groped hard for fleshly lust. They have kept loved ones at a distance and been closed to the needy. They have been used to repay evil for evil. My Master instructed me that if one caused me to sin that I should cut it off. However, my problem was in both hands and in cutting one off I would be prevented from the ability to chop off the other. You sir, present to me the only opportunity to be rid of this malady on this side of death. Would you please oblige me this favor?!”

Persecutor: “Look Believer, you are really starting to annoy me! No man can be that sick of his own body that he would request it to be maimed. That is pure lunacy! I am now most anxious to remove that tongue of yours! I now recognize it as your most diseased part!”

Believer: “Oh dear Persecutor! How glad you are making my heart without your knowing it. For you have agreed with the scriptures in diagnosing my most heinous part. This tongue is truly set on fire of hell! I have lied with it, gossiped, slandered, judged, condemned, cursed, coursely jested, spoken idly, and created discord amongst brethren. I desire to be rid of it as soon as possible. I only request that you grant me a final prayer to my Master. For I perceived that it is your intention that I will soon see Him face to face.”

Persecutor: “Believer, you have perceived correctly. It is apparent that no matter the threat, you seem to have been granted some power to resist the fear that should come upon any rational man in the face of my tortures. The only thing that can be done now is to prevent you from influencing any of the others by your endurance. Your request is granted but before you begin I have a request of my own. Will you also include me if you believe that it will do any good? I have borne witness of the power of this belief that you hold and I desire that I too can believe something strong enough to be ready to face what you have faced today.”

Before he prays, Believer says that he only wishes that he had been as willing to kill his body parts throughout his Christian journey. He then begins to pray. In his prayer he not only ask for his own forgiveness but also for that of his persecutor. He ask for the strength to endure any tortures that the persecutor may have to inflict upon him should the persecutor change his mind about ending Believer’s life.

Whatever the conclusion to this fictional story may be, I ask that as we look at Believer’s reactions we also take inventory of our own lives. Sure in the face of death we believe that it is a special supply of God’s grace that caused any of the martyrs before us to endure and that would strengthen us. But since we have been called to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, and that daily, I believe we should look for that supply of grace even now.

My brothers and sisters, are we there yet?

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Responses

  1. Blessings, Brah…..and many thanks for being on point….

  2. We’re not there yet bro, but we will be. This really is something that gets me thinking. How would I respond if faced with a similiar situation. I would respond like a Christian because of the Lord Jesus Christ inside. He will give us the mouth to respond during those times. Great post bro.

  3. hi lawrence,
    first, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. btw, i agree with it.
    now, i absolutely loved this post. it reminded me of foxe’s book of martyrs and pilgrim’s progress.

    i know i’m not there yet because i still love this life more than i should. i want to see my children grow up and make their way in the world. i want to celebrate my silver or golden anniversary. i want to travel and see the world when my children are grown. as much as i want to see Jesus when i die, i still want to enjoy life on this side of heaven still and don’t want to die just yet. however, i earnestly pray to be as believer is in your story.


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