Living for Christ Unto Death, Christian Persecution Continues to Increase Around the World

By: Ryan Atkins 0 Comments   3/14/2011

I awoke Wednesday March 2, 2011 learning about the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti in Pakistan. Bhatti, a Christian, was vocal regarding his distaste towards the blasphemy laws that reign within Pakistan. According to BBC.com the law puts individuals to death if anyone speaks against Islam.

I was angry when I saw that a man was put to death for standing for Jesus Christ. I was not angry for the injustice done to this individual. I believe Bhatti understood the environment he lived in and realized that by standing for Christ his demise would come.

A righteous anger was boiling within me because I don’t understand what it truly means to give my life for Christ. Frustration was boiling within me because I am here in America the land of the free but yet sometimes feel like I am a prisoner of the freedom that has been given to me.

What does “I am a prisoner of the freedom that has been given to me,” mean? It means that I have all of the rights, all of the freedoms, all of the technologies at my disposal. Books, blogs, Bibles in multiple versions but yet is there a freedom to truly live for Christ?

These thoughts wrestle within my mind as I have in discussions with other Christians stating you have to wear certain clothes, or a church must have the right type of lighting or coffee to truly be relevant to people.

I disagree with this assessment because you can look the best, dress the best and have everything going for you and at the same time find yourself dying on the inside without truly knowing Christ.

“...He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him. He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” Isaiah 53 2-3.

Through scripture we’re shown that “He has no form or comeliness...” but yet now we’re required to make sure the lighting is just right or the music is playing to a certain style.

Living a life of excellence is crucial, taking care of our bodies, homes, churches, musical instruments, etc. is of extreme importance. I am not doubting the importance of being good stewards at what has been given, what I am stating is that our aim needs to be Christ.

I don’t know what that fully means, all I know is that something is wrong when we’re in arguments about what is relevant while others on the other side of this planet are targets for death by glorifying Christ above all else.

Will Not Overcome the Church

Perhaps the greatest part of the story of martyrs like Shahbaz Bhatti is that his death emboldens believers around the world to question our motives and seek the faith we need to live for Christ.

Scripture tells us that the gates of hell will not overcome the church because it is built on Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18).  The reality of Jesus Christ cannot be overcome, even in death. 

What this means to me is that the enemies of Jesus Christ will not be able to defeat the church even if they tried to kill every believer in the world, because the testimony of each believer that is willing to die rather than lose their relationship with Christ, results in many more coming to believe in Christ. 

And this understanding leads to another.  If we are approaching the ‘end times’ just before the return of Jesus Christ, as noted by the many prophecies that have come to past in the last decade, then how will the prophecies of the Anti-Christ take control of the world – without defeating the church?  Perhaps the rapture is the only possible way, as the believers are removed from the earth.  

However you look at it, we are living in exciting times in which we have no choice but to increase our faith and dependence on Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Lord.    

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