Persecution against Christians is a common experience. Peter commanded his readers, “Do not be afraid of their threats or be troubled” (1 Pet 3:14).
Rather than being afraid, we are to “immediately and definitively set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts.” Some translations use the word sanctify, but the meaning is to “consecrate or set apart for exclusive use.”
Paul described this heart decision as one to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Rom 13:14). Earlier he commanded, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (12:2).
It makes sense to make the will of God our priority: “The world is passing away, and the lusts of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn 2:17).
My first summer camp experience ended with a bonfire dedication service. I had memorized a quick testimony to say that I had just accepted Christ and was so grateful. Each one of us had a stick of wood to throw into the fire, which I thought was strange.
Just as I stepped into the circle, another young man stepped forward and began to speak. He said, “I accepted Christ a few months ago, and I want this stick to represent my whole life. I want to publicly let it be known that I have not broken off any splinter to keep in my pocket, but wish to throw every bit of it, as my whole life, into the fire to be consumed in the will of God.”
Wow! Just then, a small, still voice said to me, “Don, that is what I want. Are you willing?” In that instant, I understood the issue, and I said, “Yes, Lord, You can have all of my life.”
The “heart” is the seat of our deepest emotions. Allowing Christ to reign here unseats fear and replaces it with the desire to please God and obey His commands regardless of earthly consequences.
A humble yet bold explanation of how Christ has changed your life is powerful. Have you made your heart ready to tell the story?
“Dear Father, give me the wisdom to allow You to reign in my heart no matter what kind of persecution may come. May I be ready, through Your word, to speak out for You.”