In some parts of the world, a life of witness requires great courage.
The first time I wrote for this blog, I shared that many Americans are actually open to hearing about the Christian faith. Research shows that previously unchurched people are looking for a welcoming, including environment that makes them feel like church members want them to be part of the family. If they feel welcome, they are willing to give the gospel a fair hearing. My encouragement was that every Christian can participate in being welcoming and sharing their story of faith. It really isn’t that hard!
However, over the last couple of months, I have been watching the news and hearing stories of Christians around the world dealing with serious persecution. You can read just a few pieces here and here and here.
It has made me pause and think about how easy I actually have it. I can share my faith with relatively little risk.
In Matthew 10, we find the commissioning service for the 12 disciples. Read Jesus’ description of what they will encounter as he sends them out to preach the good news:
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you…Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. …