In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. – Hebrews 12:4
The author of the epistle to the Hebrews (who we all know was the Apostle Paul … wink,wink) challenged his readers to greater faithfulness and endurance in the face of persistent persecution. In chapter 11, he applied the example of those who had steadfastly adhered to faith through times of great tribulation and testing. Knowing that every personal trial/struggle needs a context, Paul gave us one in the form of historical illustrations from the lives of those who had gone before. In chapter 12, he then challenged us to live boldly in light of their example.
This morning as I sit, unprovoked, at my desk in America, I wonder if perhaps it might be appropriate for all of us in the Western World to do the same. Have we any real concept of persecution? Stop and consider for a moment the plight of our brethren in North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, or Pakistan (World Watch List) … then see how “persecuted” you truly feel. I doubt that most of us have even resisted to the point of “shedding our comfort,” much less our blood.
As we continue one seeking to be light in an ever-darkening world, be thankful for the measure of freedom we still enjoy, but also use that freedom to rapidly spread the gospel while we still can.
Against the persecution of a tyrant the godly have no remedy but prayer. – John Calvin